By: Jill Castle, Guest Contributor
Co-author of Fearless Feeding
I usually watch the Super Bowl commercials. At four million dollars for a 30 second spot this year, I watched with interest to see what advertisers were rolling out.
It’s not often that you see a young athlete in the line-up of commercials. Usually it’s lots of cars, loads of upcoming TV shows and movies, and funny beer ads.
This year, though, I was taken by the commercial featuring the young football player, Adrian. He was obviously not the best player on his football team, and probably didn’t get a lot of playtime. During a scramble, he was the accidental recipient of the football. With as much surprise as the rest of his team, he clutched the ball in hand, focused and ran. He ran the entire football field, then off the field and onto sidewalks, through front yards and over bushes--all the way to Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. As he entered the famous field, he was witnessed by a groundskeeper, who watched Adrian “score” a touchdown, spiking the ball and prancing around much like the pros do.
It was quite a wonderful scene, symbolizing that any kid can pursue their dreams, no matter how big. I had a feel good moment.
And then it happened.
In a move of celebratory congratulations, the groundskeeper handed Adrian a Coke.
And then I had a feel-bad moment.
Using a child to sell soda. I’m no Pollyanna—I know using kids to sell food and beverages happens a lot (remember Mikey and Life cereal?). But, now they’re hiring young, impressionable athletes to sell soda?
To me, young athletes and Coke don’t mix. In my (nutrition) world, I would never suggest a young athlete drink a Coke, and certainly not to recover from an all out touchdown sprint.
Rewarding an accomplishment with foodis a big no-no in the childhood nutrition world. In a nutshell, using rewards is a way to shape food preferences for the reward food—in this case, Coke.
Let’s not forget that these ads are meant to spur sales of Coke. Using peer-to-peer efforts, like wanna-be athlete Adrian connecting with young Super Bowl fans, is a well-known strategy for communicating with, and reaching kids and teens. If one kid drinks Coke after a sporting event, others will think it’s cool to drink it too.
This ad is another feel good scheme to get you and your (athlete) kids to buy Coke.
Coke is no fool. You shouldn’t be one either.
Did you see this ad? What did you think?
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