It doesn’t take long for corporate titans to stretch forth their sinewy tentacles and wrap them around the well-known faces of stars to pimp their products. Celebrity endorsements pay big time for those who lend out their star power to boost product sales — even when the product claims are entirely bogus, or the products themselves are detrimental to you or your child’s health.
An advertising campaign featuring renown chef Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith, one of the UK’s best-selling cooking authors, has been banned in the UK for being deceptive. Waitrose, a high-end food retailer with 228 branches across the United Kingdom, promoted ads claiming the pork sold under the retailer’s label was “outdoor bred”, despite the fact that the pigs were raised in food factory sheds.
The public complained that the campaign misleadingly suggested Waitrose pork came from pigs that spent the duration of their lives outdoors. So the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the campaign misled consumers about the animals’ living conditions.
Blumenthal — whose Fat Duck restaurant is one of only three restaurants in the United Kingdom with three Michelin stars — is famous for his Smoked Bacon-and-egg Ice Cream, Mousse Poached in Liquid Nitrogen, White Chocolate with Caviar, and Edible Sand.
But if you’re going to sellout as a celebrity chef, why not go all the way, so Waitrose now sells Blumenthal’s molecular cooking in a store bought box in the form of 20 chilled ready meals.
The long parade of celebrities willing to hype chemicals as real food substitutes has become theatrical entertainment of the burlesque variety — Paris Hilton hypes Carl’s Jr., Brittney Spears pimps Pepsi, Jessica Simpson plugs Pizza Hut, Mr. T sells Snickers, and Stephen Seagal pushes Mountain Dew.
Then there’s Rachel Ray’s endorsement of Dunkin Donuts, or how about Michael Phelps, eight time Olympic gold medal winner, and his Frosted Flakes and McDonald’s endorsements that were rightfully denounced by child obesity advocates.
“Celebrities should think twice before choosing to endorse or encourage the consumption of any product which is inherently unhealthful to children, especially if that product is correlated to obesity, diabetes, and a myriad of dangerous conditions,”said Douglas Castle, Senior Advisor to Children’s International Obesity Foundation.
The breakfast cereal maker Kellogg, even had the impertinent gall to claim Rice Krispies — whose second largest ingredient is sugar — helped to support a child’s immunity. Kellogg got a way with their outrageous claim too, until finally the Federal Trade Commission censured Kellogg for the unsubstantiated and misleading claims. Kellogg also made advertising claims that its sugar laden Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved kids’ attentiveness.
Fraud, trickery and deceit has infiltrated every strata of our lives — from complicated Wall Street derivatives to the food we put in our shopping carts and on our dining room tables. Nothing is what it appears anymore. Profits and greed have become the core interests that define the human nature of those in the market place.