I heard a Slim4Life commercial on the radio recently, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The narrator explained that in this tough job market, you had to do everything possible to gain the edge on your competition.  Therefore, by enrolling in a Slim4Life weight-loss program, you would become more physically attractive.  And let’s face it, the narrator concluded—The hiring manager will favor a good-looking candidate over a less attractive candidate every time. 

Reason Number One For Not Knowing Whether to Laugh or Cry:  Last time I checked, in the general business community, it is still illegal to hire on the basis of physical appearance, sex, marital status, religion, or any other characteristic not specifically related to skills and merit.  Slim4Life was flat out telling the listener they should fully anticipate being hired or fired purely on the basis of physical appearance.  Why would Slim4Life even go there?  It boggles my mind!

Reason Number Two For Not Knowing Whether to Laugh or Cry:  The fact that Slim4Life chose to take this sorry direction in its advertising underscores the nonchalance among some businesses about not following the law.  Slim4Life seems to accept this sad reality and use it to its advantage.  “Sure, we know these hiring practices are illegal, but because we know they happen, we want to capitalize on that to sell more of our products and services.”  Someone please help me out: Are there really that many businesses out there that hire purely based on physical appearance?

Reason Number Three For Not Knowing Whether to Laugh or Cry:  Some consumers are going to believe this pitch and act on it.  In so doing, Slim4Life will be complicit in the dysfunctional sick attitude among so many people that their value to society is based purely on their physical attractiveness.  People who are already walking around with a warped understanding of what makes a human being valuable are going to be reinforced in their faulty thinking.

Reason Number Four For Not Knowing Whether to Laugh or Cry:  If in fact, you wiled your way into a new job primarily based on your physical appearance, would you genuinely be comfortable working for a company that demonstrated such shallow professional, ethical values?  Remember, you’ve got to live with your newly won position!  Can you?

Slim4Life has innumerable noble opportunities to market their products and services.  Sadly, Slim4Life instead chose to stoop to an indefensible, shallow appeal to gullible, struggling consumers predicated on illegal hiring practices.  Perhaps Slim4Life should change its name to Sin4Life.

And just when you thought advertising couldn’t sink any lower!

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.



  1. Many thanks to Diane Stafford, business writer at the Kansas City Star newspaper. Diane graciously reminded me that employment discrimination based on appearance is not illegal. She agreed with me, it may not be nice or fair, but it is legal.

    I think I have been very fortunate to have been in work environments that were so good at not only meeting the letter of the law, but going above and beyond the letter of the law. Mentally, I lumped physical appearances right in there with race, religion, and gender.

    That said, I am still not happy with Slim4Life’s approach in this radio ad.

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