Is natural good for you? Myths, perceptions and science in advertising, marketing and the media

Frost, Jennifer (2008-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This assignment explores the assumptions and perceptions – both real, and created by the media, marketers and advertisers – surrounding the word “natural” when applied to health foods, vitamins, home remedies and medication. It also examines the anti-science stance taken by many promoters of such products and the appeal that stance holds for targeted consumers. In it an attempt is made to answer the following questions: What is the source of this apparently “antiscience” point of view? How have the media contributed to this type of sentiment? Why do socalled “natural” products hold more appeal to consumers than their synthetic equivalents? Is there a difference between such products? Is the difference real or perceived? Or, is it merely a media construct? Does the popularity of these ideas indicate a growing distrust of science and governments? What effect has the media’s portrayal of science had on peoples’ attitudes to it? And, above all, what have the media done to advance the idea that “natural” is good for you?

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie werkstuk ondersoek die veronderstellings en persepsies – die werklike sowel as dié wat deur die media, bemarkers en adverteerders geskep word – met betrekking tot die woord “natuurlik” wanneer dit toegepas word op gesondheidsvoedsel, vitamiene, boererate en medikasie. Dit bekyk ook die antiwetenskaplike houding wat baie voorstanders van sodanige produkte inneem en die trefkrag wat dié houding op die teikenmark uitoefen. In dié studie is ’n poging aangewend om die volgende vrae te beantwoord: Wat is die oorsprong van hierdie klaarblyklik “antiwetenskaplike” oogpunt? Hoe het die media bygedra tot dié idee? Hoekom is die sogenaamd “natuurlike” produkte soveel aantrekliker vir die gebruiker as hulle sintetiese ekwivalente? Is daar ’n verskil tussen sodanige produkte? Is daar ’n werklike verskil of is dit slegs ‘n persepsie? Of is dit bloot ’n maaksel van die media? Dui die gewildheid van hierdie idees op ’n toenemende gebrek aan vertroue in die wetenskap en die owerhede? Watter uitwerking het die media se voorstelling van die wetenskap op mense se houding ten opsigte daarvan? En, veral, wat het die media gedoen ter bevordering van die idee dat “natuurlik” goed is vir jou?

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/21623
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