Michael Phelps’ Frosted Flakes and McDonald’s Endorsements is being criticized by the Children’s International Obesity Foundation and parents. The CIOF said in a statement Friday: “As a role model and Olympic hero to America’s children, Michael Phelps — and all athletes and celebrities — are asked to reconsider any connection to substances suspected as agents of obesity, including sugary cereals, soft drinks and other foods with refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.”
The statement was in reference to the documentary, Killer At Large, about the causes and effects of obesity in children, which will be released in November in New York. Bryan Young, one of the producers of the documentary, had this to say in a recent statement: “As we set out to look at the causes of obesity in our film, Killer at Large, we found that one of the most prevalent contributors to childhood obesity is the overwhelming amount of advertising directed at our nation’s youth that confuses unhealthy food with messages of wellness.
Michael Phelps’ endorsement will undoubtedly influence more children to nag their parents for products that endanger their health so that they can go home, consume these products and gain weight instead of becoming gold medalists. This is unconscionable and we hope that Michael Phelps reconsiders his endorsement contracts.”
Phelps’, winner of eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, will be featured on Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes boxes expected to be in stores by mid-September. Can you say Product Placement? Douglas Castle, senior advisor to the Children’s International Obesity Foundation (CIOF), said: “Public figures like Michael Phelps exert a major influence over our youngsters. CIOF believes that celebrities should think twice before choosing to endorse or encourage the consumption of any product which is inherently unhealthful (sic) to children, especially if that product is correlated to obesity, diabetes and a myriad of dangerous conditions.”
Marta Cyhan, vice-president of global promotions at the Kellogg Company, has said: “Michael embodies the values behind our Frosted Flakes Earn Your Stripes programme. “As an official sponsor of the 2008 US Olympic team and a proud sponsor of Phelps, it is only fitting that Kellogg Company feature this world-class athlete on its iconic boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereals.” Product Placement!
“Sports Agent Peter Carlisle is making a strategic branding mistake by aligning Michael Phelps to Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and McDonald’s. In this era of escalating child obesity and diabetes, the last association Michael Phelps wants is that of ‘junk food pusher’,” said MeMe Roth of National Action Against Obesity (NAAO) and the Children’s International Obesity Foundation.
“While Michael Phelps may consume thousands of calories a day and burn them off through Olympic training, America’s kids aren’t so lucky–they’re fat, sickly, and have little hope of accomplishing a single sit-up much less Olympic Gold. Kids are watching, and Michael Phelps’ going for the quick cash of pushing junk food at the expense of children tarnishes his image similar to an association with cigarettes or alcohol would. National Action Against Obesity and the Children’s International Obesity Foundation implore Michael Phelps, and all celebrities and athletes, to reject offers to push more sugar, fat, and hazardous calories onto America’s kids.”
Kellogg’s recent promise to stop marketing junk food to the under-12 set has gaping loopholes allowing them to push sugary cereals such as Frosted Flakes onto unsuspecting children. The nutrition label reveals scant fiber and protein, yet 12 grams of sugar (equal to three teaspoons), for a modest three-quarter cup of Michael Phelps-emblazoned Frosted Flakes. “That’s no breakfast of champions,” said Roth.
Kellogg’s may think Michael Phelps’ sugar-coated endorsement deal is grrreat…., along with endorsements by fat-inducing McDonald’s, but many parents and child obesity advocates see it as nothing more than Product Placement and the taste is oh-so-bitter.