I stared slack-jawed at the television. Bob Greene — Oprah’s personal trainer — had recently released his first book and was standing inside a McDonald’s promoting their new line of salads (yes, this was years ago). I slowly shook my head no, saying, “You’ve sold out, Bob. You took the money.”
And only recently did McDonald’s admit that salads make up 2% of their U.S. sales. People definitely don’t go to McDonald’s for the salads.
My husband looked at me and said, “For a million dollars, would you hawk salads for McDonalds?” My answer? Regrettably, yes … I probably would. That money would set up my family for life, and I’m sorry, but I’d likely sell you all out if I knew my kid’s college education was 100% paid for.
What if it was only for $1,000? How about $10,000? Where’s the line? Where’s your line? And for the record, I have never been offered money like that, so I haven’t been tested. I often wonder what will happen if and when that day ever comes.
Apparently I’m not the only one being tested (or willing to cash in) as I’ve seen quite a few questionable sponsorships at fitness blogging conventions over the past couple years. Mostly processed food products, granola bars (loaded with sugar), chocolate milk (sugar), powders and shakes and pills.
Gotta admit, I have a few problems with this …
1. High sugar items contribute to things like obesity and um, death … Even if it’s organic sugar, it’s still bad for bloggers and their readers.
2. Most fitness bloggers are NOT nutrition experts. I consider myself well read, but by no means an expert, so if a blogger is hawking some processed stuff to their readers, do they even know the nutritional impact of what they’re selling?
This is all coming up for me because I’m watching Leah Segedie take on Coca-Cola and the mother of all blogging conventions, BlogHer. Yes, BlogHer is a convention for women who blog, so there are a lot of Mommy bloggers, a few fitness bloggers, and just about anyone who blogs who is female is represented. Coca-Cola is handing out pedometers and helping people develop a wellness plan and there’s all kinds of contests to tweet pictures, etc. using Coke’s hashtag.
OK, deep breath … Coke + Wellness = ???
Seriously? I suppose they can push their bottled water brand, but c’mon! A 12-ounce can of Coke has 9 1/2 teaspoons of sugar and diet soda has been linked to obesity … geez! For the record, women should limit their “added” sugar to 5 teaspoons a day, in other words, half a can.
If Coca-Cola really wants to promote wellness, how about pledging to remove all beverages with added sugar from vending machines in our kids’ schools? How about pledging to remove high fructose corn syrup from all their products? How about pledging to go non-GMO?
I’m sure if a Coke exec read that they would laugh out loud. Those things will happen right about the time hell freezes over …
Look, obesity is a very real problem and it’s killing us.
Let me say that again … OBESITY IS A VERY REAL PROBLEM AND IT’S KILLING US!! Do we think the manufacturers of the products that are contributing to the problem are truly going to save us? (And there was actually a recent article in The Atlantic that suggested exactly that.)
Which brings me to my last question. Clearly the conference organizers are taking money from the sponsors. These companies have a lot of money and staff to throw around. The fitness industry is tiny and fractured compared to the processed food industry. They definitely have the deepest pockets. So it makes sense that they’ll step forward and sponsor programs like this.
But should the organizers take the money? Are they doing their audience a disservice? Are they promoting a truly healthy lifestyle that will help their readers? Are they okay with the Bob Greene decision?
And at least Bob was actually hawking leafy vegetables …
What do you think?
BTW, Leah is having a Twitter chat to discuss this issue further on Tuesday, July 23rd from 6:00 – 7:30 pm Pacific. Feel free to attend!