Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Coca-Cola's Latest Campaign Is Specifically Targeting Your Teens

At least that's what this Bloomberg article surmises, and I don't disagree:
"This summer the company printed the 250 most common names of U.S. teens on Coke bottles, hoping that millions of kids will want to buy drinks with their names on them. So far it seems to be working: In the last three months, sales of Coca-Cola have inched up 1 percent in North America."
Moreover, do you really think that these cans and bottles won't target your preteens too?

And it's not just a theory they're going after your children with this campaign. According to promomedia, one of Coca-Cola's many marketing agency partners noted,
"The heart of this campaign was the physical customization of Coca-Cola cans (Brand Experience) for TEENS."
No surprise though as this quote from Michael Moss' fabulous Salt, Sugar, Fat - How the Food Giants Hooked Us (which I reviewed here) explains, where the quote is from a Coca-Cola executive discussing Coca-Cola's (rather empty) promise not to target kids under 12,
magically, when they would turn twelve, we’d suddenly attack them like a bunch of wolves."
[And just in case you're tempted to try, the online Share a Coke generator won't let you design a bottle for "Diabetes". I know because I tried.]

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Stories: History, Mammoths, and the Most Important Story on Earth

Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker asks if it helps to know history?

Wait But Why with a great piece on taming your inner mammoth.

And Matti Friedman in Tablet with a fascinating piece that in 3 days has been shared over 50,000x on how and why the media made Israel the most important story on earth.

[And if you don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here's my US News and World Report column that aims to answer whether or not you should skip breakfast, here's the Twitter debate I had with Bryce Wylde regarding proof vs. promise and red palm oil benefits, and here's a quick Q&A I did with the Charlotte Observer on nutrition, dieting and public policy.]

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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Onion Reports on Subway's New Footlong Marketing Campaign

Stay with today's Funny Friday video right until the end to ensure you don't miss the amazing dig at Taco Bell.

Have a great weekend!

Horrified Subway Execs Assumed People Were Buying Footlongs To Share With A Friend

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coca-Cola Never, Ever, Markets to Kids - Scholar's Choice Edition

You know Coca-Cola would never ever target kids with their advertising, right?

I mean that's what they told me in a medical journal once, and no doubt Coca-Cola branded Barbie dolls aren't meant for children, nor was this rated for ages 4 and up Santa's Helper Coca-Cola iPhone app, nor these Coca-Cola comic book ads, nor this Coca-Cola Dr. Seuss soda dispenser at Universal studios, nor this Coca-Cola baby rattle.

Nope, Coca-Cola never targets kids.

That's why this product my wife spotted for sale at Scholar's Choice (a store for teachers to buy gear for their classrooms) must be mislabeled.

You see it's a 3D puzzle of a Coca-Cola can and according to Scholar's Choice it's meant for 10 year olds and 11 year olds:

But clearly that's just plain wrong because remember, Coca-Cola never, ever, markets to kids.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Guest Post: The Fitness-Industrial-Complex is Deceiving You!

A short while ago science journalist Patrick Mustain wrote to me detailing a new initiative of his called New Body Ethic. After taking some time to look at it, I asked Patrick if he'd be willing to write a guest post to introduce this worthy initiative to Weighty Matters readers. If your job involves working with clients to help improve their health, fitness, or lifestyle, please take a moment to read through and then consider signing up.

The Fitness-Industrial-Complex Is Deceiving You.
A Group Of Fitness Professionals Is Setting Out To Change That.
Patrick Mustain, MPH, MA

Chances are, at some point in the last few days, you have been lied to about health. It’s a safe bet that some magazine or TV show has told you (yes, you!) that you can lose weight easily and quickly. This blatant lie is constantly being debunked by health and obesity experts, yet it persists, and people seem to continue to believe it.

More insidious, perhaps, is a not-so-obvious deception that permeates the language from the fitness industry--that dieting and exercise are things that you should be doing in the first place, and that failure to do either stems from a lack of personal responsibility, or some moral deficit.

Let’s put this notion to rest. Dieting and exercise are crazy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people who fail to do either, and the sooner we can all acknowledge this, the happier and healthier we’ll all be.

For most of the history of life, the most important thing, for most people, was obtaining and conserving energy from food. Feeling guilty about eating food, and burning energy just for the sake of burning energy would have made no sense to our ancestors.

Of course, 10,000 years ago, we didn’t have cars, escalators, and office jobs. We didn’t drink refined sugar with every meal, we didn’t eat dessert every day, we didn’t shape our children’s food preferences with billions of dollars in marketing, and we didn’t have an industrialized food system dominated by hyper-palatable, energy-dense, nutritionally devoid, highly-processed products.

Clearly things are quite different now than they were 10,000 years ago, and in lots of good ways--we don’t have to chase down and kill our food. Thankfully, most of us will not be chased down and become meals ourselves. And we have plumbing. But, along with these advances, we’ve inherited a growing burden of obesity and chronic disease, soon to overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death worldwide.

Enter the fitness industry.

As obesity and its associated health problems have reached global pandemic levels, the fitness industry has flourished. According to franchisehelp.com, the number of fitness centers in the U.S. went from roughly 17,000 in 2000 to almost 30,000 by 2008, and this growth is showing no signs of slowing down. A cursory glance at fitness websites, reality shows, magazines, gym literature, et cetera will tell us that the fitness industry is here to save us from being fat.

But being fat is not something that we need to be saved from. What we need to be saved from is an environment unlike anything any living thing has experienced in 4 billion years of evolution. A report from the Lancet concluded:
Obesity is the result of people responding normally to the obesogenic environment they find themselves in.
Let me repeat: responding normally.

It is no surprise that we hear very little from the fitness industry about fostering an environment that prevents weight gain. Weight gain is the fitness industry’s bread and butter, so of course the focus is going to be on the quick fixes, the anecdotes about extreme weight loss “successes,” and the false sense of ease and speed—very little that actually has a meaningful impact on health. All these things keep people striving for that unattainable goal, and coming back for that next issue of Shape, the next insanity workout, and the next belly-fat-busting miracle supplement. But the brilliant thing about all these products is that when they don’t work, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough to make them work. You failed at the diet. You didn’t exercise quite enough.

There are many health and fitness professionals out there who want to change this culture of fitness. They understand that health and wellness and come from a lifelong process of learning how to take care of one’s body, for the long-term, not the quick fix. They seek to understand the environmental and cultural contexts in which we make our health decisions. They avoid focusing mostly on aesthetic outcomes. Rather, they try to help their clients learn to appreciate their bodies the way they are in the moment, but also to realize the wonderful potential each body holds for overcoming challenges, adapting, and learning new skills and movements.

At New Body Ethic, we’re bringing these health and fitness professionals together to speak with a unified voice. We’ve had personal trainers, fitness instructors, physicians, physical therapists, gym owners, dieticians, health writers and more, from all over the world, sign our pledge to help make the culture of fitness more responsible, inclusive, and hype-free—to make fitness work for everyone.

Are you one of these professionals? Do you know one? If so, please visit NewBodyEthic.org, and spread the word. You can follow along on our blog, or keep up with us on social media. We’re here to kill diet and exercise with good food and natural movement. We hope you’ll join us.

Patrick Mustain, MPH, MA, studied kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, public health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and medical and science journalism at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is currently a Communications Manager at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, and a writer and multimedia producer for Scientific American’s Food Matters blog.

Patrick started his personal training and fitness career after catching the fitness bug in the U.S. Navy. He spent eleven years asking the question: “How can we make it easier for all people to live healthier lives?” This is the best answer he’s come up with so far. He likes climbing on things, running around outside, and sandwiches.

You can see Patrick’s writing and multimedia work at his website, patrickmustain.com, and you can follow him on twitter @patrickmustain.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Visionary Quotes from 1929 Obesity Textbook - On Sugar, Corn Syrup and Refined Carbs

Plainly prescient.
"Meanwhile our sugar consumption continues to increase. Has it reached the maximum? Are the advent of highly refined glucose and the growing consumption of corn syrup, in addtion to other refined carbohydrates, about to make the proportion of sugar calories in the daily diet of our people even larger? These are questions that deserve careful consideration in a candy loving nation."
(This is the last of this series - hope you enjoyed).

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Visionary Quotes from 1929 Obesity Textbook - On Processed Food

On sugar and processed foods. I think the authors were wizards. BTW, another quote on both again tomorrow.
"The fact that one-fifth of our diet, nowadays, consists of this vitamin-free food (sugar) is especially important because the other four fifths have also lost much of their vitamin potencies in the refining processes to which so many modern foods are subjected. If we continue to refine more and more foods, and to include in our daily calorie ration an ever larger proportion of pure sugar, the time may come when we shall feel a serious lack of one of these food "accessories". Our diet will have become dangerously diluted by the substitution of pur sugar for some of the old-fashied vitamin-bearing or mineral-bearing foods."

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Stories: So Many Links!

Michael Specter with a longread in The New Yorker covering anti-GMO crusader Vandana Shiva.

Alex Parker in Mother Jones with the killer headline question, "Should we regulate poop as a drug?"

Benjamin Breen with a delightful piece in The Appendix about the King of the Islands of Refreshment (it's not a fast food piece).

A fascinating video by JT Singh that unveils a little bit about life in North Korea.

Brendan O'Neill in The Telegraph calls to question the ability of the UK to still label itself civilized or democratic.

Gillian Bennett posts her own suicide note online - and it's a must read (note the "Next Page" button at the bottom of each page of the note - total note's 4 pages).

Investigative journalist Richard Behar with a deep dive in Forbes on the media's reporting on the war in Gaza.

And if you don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, below are the two pieces I did with TVO's The Agenda. I can't tell you how great it is to have the luxury of time to really have a discussion.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Deep Thoughts with Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman)

Of all the male TV personas out there, there's none I'm more fond of than Park and Recreation's Ron Swanson, and while this isn't technically a Ron Swanson Funny Friday video, I'm pretty sure everything Nick Offerman ever says will for me be spoken by Ron Swanson.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Visionary Quotes from 1929 Obesity Textbook - On BMI and Ideal Weight

Why don't doctors and other health professionals know this yet? This is the concept that both underlies Dr. Sharma's EOSS staging system and plagues BMI's individual application.
"It is often difficult to answer the question: How much ought I to weight? It is far more important to know how the weight is changing. If a person's weight has long been stationary, and he is able to do effective work; if he has no obvious disease, and, if, especially, his build is like that of other members of his family, he may conclude that his weight is normal for him.".

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