Today I’m featuring a mashup of two separate but related stories about soft drink giants, celebrity performers, politics and obesity. Seemingly unrelated, right? Not quite. I’m talking about Pepsi, Coke, Beyoncé, the Presidential Inauguration, and childhood obesity. Still not making the connection?
As you may have heard, megastar Beyoncé has been chosen to perform the National Anthem during President Obama’s second Inauguration. Okay, doesn’t seem problematic or controversial as long as there are no wardrobe malfunctions, right? Wrong. There’s always somebody who objects to everything. In another story featured on Huff Post today, Coca Cola announced that it will begin airing television commercials that, for the first time, will address obesity.
So what does Beyoncé singing the Star Spangled Banner have to do with Coca Cola’s new commercials, you ask? Apparently, everything.
Beyoncé recently signed a $50 million endorsement contract for Pepsi Cola, the number two soft drink company in the world. (Hey, she has to keep baby Blue Ivy in Diamond Barbies somehow, but I digress…) That’s right the same Beyoncé who was enlisted by First Lady Michelle Obama to film “Move Your Body” in her campaign to combat childhood obesity is now the face of Pepsi Cola, peddler of sugar-laden, obesity-causing soft drinks. Can you say, “conflicted”? Critics called for the singer to cancel the Pepsi contract or donate the money from the contract to obesity-related health initiatives.
Meanwhile, Coca Cola, the number one soft drink company in the world is attempting to be proactive by addressing obesity head-on:
“The ad lays out Coca-Cola’s record of providing drinks with fewer calories over the years and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda.”
Apparently, there are some folks up in arms over this whole Beyoncé thing, saying that she shouldn’t perform at the Inauguration because it sends the wrong signals to the legions of young fans over which she has so much influence. Critics are also pointing out that Coca Cola’s motives are questionable:
Mike Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that if the company was serious about helping reduce obesity, it would stop fighting soda taxes. “It looks like a page out of damage control 101,” he said. “They’re trying to disarm the public.”
Read both articles here: