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'Fat-shaming' in German supermarket ad?

'The story of Eatkarus' - a controversial new Edeka ad for healthy eating goes viral in Germany.

The story of Eatkarus - a name that refers to the Greek myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun, burned his wings and crashed - is the most recent video commercial for Edeka, a nationwide German supermarket chain famous for clever ad campaigns that have lately tended to go viral.

In the new video, a very fat boy lives in a town of similarly fat people who gobble nothing but unidentifiable grey globs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wishing he could fly like a bird, he starts to eat berries, loses weight dramatically, and fulfills his dream: he builds a set of wings and flies away.

Within 48 hours after its release, the short film "Eatkarus" went viral, with more than eight million viewers across the various social media platforms.

Fight unhealthy eating habits

Viewers have mainly praised the campaign, but some have also criticized the ad as fat-shaming, which is the act of bullying, singling out, discriminating, or making fun of a fat person. A Berlin organization slams it as full of clichés at the expense of fat people.

Other viewers say ads can promote healthy eating without ridiculing fat people. The Berlin-based Association against Weight Discrimination says you don't need a tiny waist to fly, and reminds readers that the Greek Icarus ultimately crashed -, asking "so do we need to worry about Eatkarus?"

Edeka said in a statement the supermarket wanted to raise awareness about healthy nutrition and not discriminate against overweight people. The supermarket chain says it wants to shake off the daily routine of fast food and acknowledges that "some people suffer from obesity because of illness, which cannot be solved with a simple diet change."

"Eat like the one that you want to be" is the tagline of the short video created by the Hamburg-based Jung von Matt advertising agency. The advert song is "All I Can Do" by Ben Kendrick.

The chain that runs with the general slogan "We love food" compliments its new commercial - which it says "figuratively conveys the advantages of a balanced diet" and is meant to make people rethink their eating habits - with cooking videos, diet tips and a BMI calculator on its website.

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