Toucan Sam – is he to blame for obesity?

Joe Camel Ad

Looking back in advertising history, nixing Joe Camel from cigarette advertisements seems obvious. Cigarette cause cancer, and a cartoon grabs the attention of children.

But hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?

According to the New York Times, the federal government is looking to make some similar changes to food advertising and marketing. With obesity being the epidemic it is, it only seems right to start putting bans on what types of ads can be aimed at kids for particular foods. As the article describes, “Regulators are asking food makers and restaurant companies to make a choice: make your products healthier or stop advertising them to youngsters.” Makes perfect sense to me.

Of course, it’s never that easy. You have the debate about exactly how healthy something needs to be to use a cartoon character, and so on… but you also have to wonder – how much should the government really control advertising?

I’m a nutrition nut, so I’m biased. I think that a lot of things need to change about the way we eat, and I would not be at all against stripping Toucan Sam off that box of Froot Loops. But is that fair?

May 10, 2011 · Posted by in misc  


3 Responses to “Toucan Sam – is he to blame for obesity?”

  1. Pete Prodoehl on May 10th, 2011 12:57 pm

    It’s a tough one… As a parent I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure my kids eat healthy, and I do my best to make that happen. Not every parent does that, or maybe they just get worn down by kids asking again and again for the “bad” foods at the grocery store. Of course many parents eat just as bad as their kids do, so who do you blame really? Is it the governments responsibility to protect people from their own bad choices?

  2. Olivia on May 10th, 2011 3:21 pm

    I think that instead of asking “is it the government’s responsibility to protect people from their own bad choices?” you should ask “at what point is advertising manipulative and even deceptive?” I read an article once about a brand of cereal that, looking at the box, anyone would guess that it was healthy. However, it contained much more sugar than Fruit Loops or some other sugary brand. I was shocked. I shouldn’t have to dig deep to be able to determine if something is good for me or not. Grocery shopping takes long enough – the last thing I want to do is read the label of everything that goes in my cart.

  3. Pete Prodoehl on May 10th, 2011 3:54 pm

    You could always go by the rule of “if your grandparents wouldn’t recognize the items in the list of ingredients, don’t eat it” rule…

    I typically only need to read the label the first time, and then I have a mental list of if it’s OK for me to purchase it. (I try to avoid HFCS and hydrogenated oils, those are fairly easy to spot.)