Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Unhealthy Celebrity Endorsement Shame Page

Pop Star Beyoncé shills for Pepsi
Yesterday's post got me to thinking.

I wonder whether or not a well designed, brutally irreverent, actively managed web site/Twitter feed/Facebook page that served to highlight and shame celebrities (and movie studios/brands, and conflicted health professionals) who choose to promote the consumption of junk food to kids would be valuable in the fight against Big Food?


Celebrity examples?

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  1. Steve6:18 am

    I think it's a great idea. When I read your blog yesterday I was wondering if a twitter @ mention to the CFL players would get any response. Could be interesting :)

  2. Good idea. In the past, I've done that for commercials that appear during NFL football games ... http://bit.ly/4QikjZ

    Here's one of my "favorites" ... in one commercial, it has four superstars and four different sports ... http://bit.ly/nGnfJC

  3. Great examples here, compiled by someone who is similarly apalled: http://thestir.cafemom.com/food_party/108827/skinny_celebrities_selling_out_for

    I remember Bill Cosby shilling for Coke in the 1980s, too. And Michael Jackson selling Pepsi. Remember when his hair caught on fire while he was filming a Pepsi commercial?

    Here are some examples of celebrities selling fast food before they made it big: http://www.thedailymeal.com/celebrity-fast-food-commercials-they-were-famous . Now, maybe this is unfair, because these examples are indeed about celebrities in fast food commercials before they made it big. Lots of celebrities got their start in commercials.

    Athletes are perhaps the worst in terms of selling soft drinks and fast food. Figure skater Michelle Kwan, football player Joe Green, and football player Troy Palomalou (sp?) endorsed Coke too. I remember that the "mean" Joe Green Coke commerical became a big piece of pop culture history. Shaquille O' Neill endorsed a fast food meal named after himself, the "Shaq Attack" (I think?). I can't remember if it was Burger King or McDonald's, though. And not only that, he is a partial owner of Auntie Anne's pretzels, so he now makes money through selling fast food.

    And it's not an uncommon thing for athletes or former athletes to get into the business of owning fast food franchies, apparently. See http://www.qsrmagazine.com/franchising/new-team? .

    1. Anonymous2:40 pm

      Don't forget Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull on the boxes of "Pro Stars" breakfast cereal (basically sugared cardboard if I remember right), Doug Flutie on "Flutie Flakes" and tonnes of athletes who decided to shill Wheaties (albeit a 'slightly' healthier option than the previous two...)

  4. Excellent idea. Love it.

  5. Laura8:34 am

    This is a great idea. Every little bit helps. You never know what will inspire someone to see things differently.

  6. Anonymous9:02 am

    Why are we limiting this site to junk food advertised to kids. How about also including weight loss products or products with health claims, that really don't do anything in the end?

    I am thinking about DR. Oz and his "Raspberry Ketone's", Whoopi Goldberg and Slim Fast
    ETC. How about local programs as well, Like the Program at The Ottawa Hospital - Civic site and Optifast, with it's long term success rate of 2%, Jeanne Beker and Herbal Magic?

    1. Anonymous11:29 am

      Or Jennifer Aniston and her stupid bottled water?

  7. Pepsi alone has more than a few high profile examples:

    Madonna: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8qtsUaoVak

    Ludacris: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADW_HRxd9LI

    Michael Jackson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Md5lPyuvsk

  8. Anonymous10:02 am

    Great idea! Sign me up!

  9. Anonymous10:27 am


    From a past Yoni Post - Mc Johnsons. I find it suiting.

  10. How about a group Pinterest board?

  11. Justine Townsend2:24 pm

    Wonderful idea! I have lots of ideas to add. This whole idea that companies "can't advertise to kids" is baloney - I work in media advertising and know that it can be done!

  12. While I'll agree that what the celebrities/athletes/health "professionals" are doing is completely wrong, this approach sounds a lot like bullying, which is also wrong. There has been a lot of media attention about bullying lately, and I believe that this sort of shaming of celebrities is similar to the bullying that we are trying to teach our children is the wrong course of action. Aren’t we were supposed to teach our children by example, and teach them to respect others and to think critically, not to attack others who may behave or think differently from ourselves?

    1. Anonymous6:30 pm

      I agree, Kendra. I don't like the idea of shaming or bullying people. Shaming a celebrity for endorsing an unhealthy product isn't that far away from shaming a celebrity for "looking unhealthy" (read - having a larger body size no matter what their actual health) or shaming someone in the neighbourhood for having a larger body size or wearing different clothes.

    2. Anonymous8:57 pm

      This is the problem when something is talked about inappropriately in media. Bullying is in most cases assault, libel, defamation etc. Except because it happens with children it's labelled bullying therefore minimizing how people view what's really happening.

      What Yoni is talking about is by no means bullying. Is Yoni assaulting or defaming these celebrities - no! He is a baratric doctor who is aware how advertising affects our food choices specifically bad food choices. Is it bullying when Nelli Furtado was shamed for performing a private concert for the Lybian dictator? She was shamed because she did a shameful thing. When people do something shameful they should be called out for it. Excuse me if I'm not worried about celebrities being shamed by Yoni because the mere thought of it being anything close to the horrible treatment some youth inflict on their peers is ludicrous.