Katy Perry and Pepsi are picking on fat kids. At least that’s what certain groups are claiming after criticising the pop star for promoting the sugary soft drink. Other groups are actually going so far as to say that the 28 year-old performer is making kids fat.
One particular group, the Washington DC based Center for Science in the Public Interest, aka CSPI, have written an open letter to the entertainer. The message from CSPI ran in the trade paper Variety and accused Perry of being a negative influence on her young fans. The center also pointed out that one in three young American children and teenagers are obese or overweight.
Then the DC based group goes on to compare soft drinks to cigarettes, although not in the addictive sense, in the celebrity advertising sense. Apparently, the organization has not realised that tobacco companies do not have the ability to advertise as freely now as they did in the days before the year 2000. They then go on to say that Katy doesn’t care about her younger fans and they believe the singer is exploiting her popularity to make a buck at the young public’s expense.
The group have called for the Roar singer to step back from her endorsement deal for the health of all those overweight teenagers and pre-teens. Perhaps CSPI really believe the rubbish that they are preaching. Nevermind that the group have left parents out of the equation, or schools that might just teach little Joe or Jane about nutrition. Apparently it is a lot easier to blame Katy Perry and Pepsi. Their charge that the two are essentially picking on fat kids, is beyond ludicrous.
Trying to pin the weight problems of America’s children on a pop star and a sugary soda ignores the real question of what is causing the average weight of the country’s denizens to escalate across the age groups. If kids, or their parents, do not indulge in the drinking of a calorie filled fizzy Pepsi, there are plenty of other weight adding soft drinks that could be imbibed instead. Apparently, the health group are only interested in vilifying that particular soft drink giant.
Katy could have signed up to promote things that are much worse than a soda pop. Light beer for instance. While nowhere near as fattening as Pepsi, it is alcoholic and illegal for young folks to drink. At 28, soon to be 29, Perry is certainly old enough to tout alcoholic beverages which would be even worse than pushing the Pepsi cola line.
It has been pointed out that food processing companies have utilized celebrities to advertise their products almost since time out of mind. Some, like the folks at Kellogg’s have used profits from their breakfast related products, which are also chock full of calories in the form of sugar, to promote children’s sport programs. These forward thinking companies also develop healthier options of food for consumption.
Regardless of what particular product Ms Perry has chosen to the be the spokesperson for, like CoverGirl for instance, it is down to her and her manager/agent. Katy is doing nothing that other celebrities have done for years. It is all part and parcel of being famous in the entertainment industry, or the sports industry. Oddly enough, not in politics, although there may be the odd congressman who advertises for snack food somewhere.
The singer taps into the consciousness of younger fans. Katy Perry has a huge fan base of teenagers as was evidenced by her lip dub contest for her song Roar. Over 80 high schools in 44 states participated and every school was excited to be a part of the competition. She plays to that age group to a large extent, but, she does not take advantage of her younger fans.
Katy Perry songs are of empowerment and convey a positive message. Considering other artists out there at the moment, whose messages are not positive in nature or convey a positive message, it seems a bit unfair to accuse the singer, and Pepsi, of picking on fat kids. It is not Perry’s fault that these children are obese or overweight, neither is it Pepsi’s. The blame lays squarely with the parents, schools, and the children themselves. If Katy was not such a positive role model, she would have told the science health group where they could stick their Pepsi. Unfortunately, Katy has too much class to do that.
By Michael Smith