Tag Archives: cereal

The Politics of Breakfast Cereals

My apologies for not responding to this very silly Wall Street Journal Op-ed about Kellogg’s stopping use of licensed characters for marketing, unless the food in question meets certain nutrition benchmarks for sugar, fat and calories.

Here are some choice quotes from the piece:

This retreat comes after the Naderite Center for Science in the Public Interest

and…

…the food activists, who are fronts for the trial bar, are targeting the cereal makers and broadcasters.

and finally…

The real issue is the threat of lawsuits themselves, which can cost tens of millions to defend while a company’s stock price is held hostage to a media assault.

Notice the level of invective? Notice the very carefully chose words and phrases such as “Naderite” and “front for the trial bar”, giving the perception, without proof mind you, that the quest to minimize influence of marketing upon children lays directly at the feet of the American Bar Association and any other legal institution that would profit from lawsuits against food companies.

Don’t you believe it.

In my opinion, the one thing more despicable than a greedy lawyer, is a greedy marketer. And is it the marketer or the lawyer who profits from the status quo of children’s advertising?

Look, obesity, especially children’s obesity is not as simple as “Children need to exercise more”. There are several other variables clearly at play, including what foods are being fed to them, the amount of food being fed, and yes, even the amount of time a child spends in front of the television being exposed to commercials that state “Cap’n Crunch is a nutritious part of a complete breakfast” or something similar.

As I’ve said before, if a company spends an inordinate amount of time and money hyping a brand, and people come to realize that the reality doesn’t measure up to the hype, the company shouldn’t be surprised when there is pushback. When consumers realize that Cookie Crisp and Count Chocula may not be as nutritious as the company has let on, the hype starts to seem less like PR and more like lies and manipulation.

And no one likes to be lied to and manipulated.