I have only three weight-loss guidelines. No. 1: Don't eat. No. 2: If you do eat, don't eat a lot. And No. 3: If you do eat a lot, make sure it's not chocolate cake.
If you've seen me, you know I don't always follow those rules. And I think the Federal Trade Commission's "advice" last week to the media on what constitutes a kosher weight-loss ad will fall on deaf ears, too. No, what our Obese Nation needs is more fried chicken. (But I guess we won't see any more of those ads, will we?)
Of course, it's not just Kentucky Tarred and Feathered Chicken that's been on the wrong end of the weight issue. Burger chains are marketing salads (when it comes to moms, you'd better make it their way—or else). A food marketer pitched us a story on a fairly cool promotional campaign that had nothing to do with anything meaty. But they still felt compelled to state, somewhat sheepishly, that they wouldn't take queries about calories.
Adding lipids to the fire, a study was released last week that showed U.S. kids are eating fewer fruits and vegetables because they're watching TV—and because they're exposed to ads for unhealthy foods. (The study also said kids spend more hours watching TV than doing anything else but sleeping, which I can say from firsthand experience is not true. They have learned to sleep and watch TV at the same time.)
Anyway, these studies aren't research, they're weaponry for bombarding any company that sells anything consumable. And these companies are terrified they'll be the "new tobacco."
Me, I'm too much the libertarian libertine to stay quiet as our constitutional right to harden our arteries is threatened. I say we stage eat-ins in support of McDonald's and all the other companies that are unfairly attacked by skinny bastards with political agendas.
En obese masse, let's take to the streets in the gourmand cities and red-blooded American towns where they still kill steer for dinner without shame and voice our support for Wienerschnitzel, General Mills and all the other commercial interests now under attack for selling tasty fare like nitrate-loaded meat and sugar-drenched cereal.
I mean, what good is a Republican administration if we can't eat ourselves silly while watching war news on CNN and the fair and balanced Nazi News Channel?
This attack on fat ads and the marketers who sell fatty foods is way off target. You want to attack an ad approach, go after Calvin Klein and the others who push rail-thin talking mannequins. The ads that make us yearn for birdlike physiques are the dangerous ones.
Obesity isn't a problem. Paris Hilton and her pale pencil body, that's a problem.
But you know that marketers' pre-emptive attempts to keep the activists off their backs aren't going to work. We're destined to be deluged with newspaper stories about secret fast-food manifestos designed to make us all fat and nonprofit campaigns that equate peddling carbs with dealing death.
And I can't wait for the ONDCP spots that link eating Big Macs to terrorism.
But as always, I have an idea, and I'm willing to give it away free for the good of the nation. The delicious irony is that I found this solution in a press release sent out this month by Gary Ruskin of Commercial Alert, the corporation-bashing group that is to American business what the ACLU is to common sense.
See, it seems Commercial Alert found out that Emory University is conducting experiments in "neuromarketing," which apparently uses MRIs somehow to sell stuff. Or at least Commercial Alert thinks it does. (This, by the way, proves that truth is stranger than science fiction, because that's exactly what the famous advertising-focused sci-fi classic The Space Merchants imagined lying in wait for us in the future.)
So, there you have it. Hypnotize us all not to eat chocolate cake. Case closed.
Of course, that will wipe out a huge chunk of the nation's ad market. But that's why God made drug ads.