The Public Relations Papers

Because sometimes you just don't have a choice.

18 October, 2006

Disney Dieting?

Effective immediately, Winnie the Pooh will no longer be allowed to have his paw buried in his bottomless pot of honey. Unless, of course, that honey is sweetened with Splenda, and its calories and saturated fat are limited.

In an effort to trim down its sugary image, Disney is no longer allowing its characters to promote unhealthy or fatty foods. This includes the food that Disney sells at its resorts and theme parks. An article from the Media Daily News describes how many media outlets are taking heat for letting children’s characters advertise unhealthy food. The article goes on to say that, "Disney will be providing healthier options for families that seek them, whether at our parks or through our broad array of licensed foods," said Disney President-CEO Robert Iger. "The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market food that kids will want, and parents will feel good about giving them."

So what effect will this ban have on Disney? My guess is not a whole lot. When I think of foods that Disney characters promote, nothing strikes me as being absurdly unhealthy or dangerous to public health. Honestly, I can’t even think of specific foods that Disney characters promote. If Disney turns a larger profit because of this move, it won’t be because they are putting their characters on heads of lettuce and carrot sticks. It will be because the public sees them as taking a proactive stance on fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, etc.

As for Disney theme park’s cutback on unhealthy foods: come on. People visit those parks to have a good time and enjoy food with their families. Not to labor through vigorous workouts while chugging protein shakes and eating stale granola bars. Is this a good idea? Of course, and it will probably turn out all right in the end. But sooner or later, people will start asking, “how far is too far?”


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