As world-class athletes gathered to compete in the London 2012 Olympics, Jamie Oliver joined health professionals to take aim at celebrity athletes who promote sugar and fat-loaded foods. Their letter, published in the July 25th Times, was blunt:
We believe it is wrong for athletes to encourage the excessive consumption of such items, which are fuelling poor health and obesity. David Beckham is a great sportsman, yet he has endorsed Pepsi. What about the impact of Gary Lineker’s association with Walkers crisps? Or the partnership between Mars and the FA?
The letter was signed by Dr Aseem Malhotra (Cardiologist); Dr Hilary Cass (President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health); Professor Terence Stephenson (Past President); Steve Iredale (President, National Association of Head Teachers); Charlie Powell (Director, Children’s Food Campaign); and Jamie Oliver. They accused the junk food industry of triggering the “halo” effect by linking their unhealthy offerings with celebrity athletes.
Olympics and Junk Food
A lot of sports celebrities will make appearances at the Olympics, people like David Beckham and Gary Lineker. Their endorsements of various products will tag along with them.
The Premiere Athlete & Celebrity site gives a glimpse into the money paid to famous people for their appearances, endorsements, and speaking engagements. If you want Mario Andretti, expect to pay between $30,000 and $50,000. You can hire Dorothy Hamill for half that. Don’t expect Hank Aaron for under $50,001. Most don’t list their fees.
The money is seductive for both parties. Athletes and other celebrities fatten their bank accounts. Companies benefit from the “halo” effect and make shareholders happy with increased profits. When it comes to the Olympics, sponsors stand to gain a great deal by their connection with major sports figures and with events that capture the eye of the world.
Next: Studies Link Diet and Disease
Read more: 2012 london olympics, advertising, athletes, Children, corporate influence, corporate responsibility, corporate social responsibility, corporate sponsors, fast food, greenwashing, junk food, obesity, olympics
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