Jenny Craig Cheryl Baker advert

The Jenny Craig programme seems to be some sort of diet scheme for the feckless, in that the company delivers food to its customers as they can’t be relied upon to go down to Tesco and not buy a load of jammy bloody doughnuts.

Cheryl Baker is not an obvious choice for an ad to my mind – having been off the telly and out of the charts for some years – but maybe she’s a good representation of the Jenny Craig target demographic.

Baker also appears in the advert half way through her diet programme, and as a result still looks a tad on the heavy side.

The money shot in these ads – and frequently on the front of fitness DVDs shilled by the likes of Sonya out of Eastenders and Michelle Bass off Big Brother – is of a dumpy, depressed and dowdy woman clad in an ill-fitting, unflattering bikini contrasted with an airbrushsed pic of a smiling, trim, buff and incredibly-happy, newly-thin woman proclaiming the success of the exercise regime.

This is, of course, about as dishonest as marketing ever gets, and newspapers always seem to be full of relapsed thirty-something women proclaiming how miserable these diet programmes made them.

It’s a sad reflection of a society that pushes images of fat women as unhappy and ugly and thin ones as ecstatic and successful; and these women are the poster-people for a cultural theory of alienation.

Bizarrely the Jenny Craig ad doesn’t even manage this staple of diet adverts, so the ad is like an episode of Changing Rooms without the reveal.

If Cheryl has any sense she’ll release her own diet plan, consisting of an egg-based diet. If you have to ask what it would be called, you’re clearly younger than I.