Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Are Blue Cross And Blue Shield’s Childhood Obesity PSAs Smart Or Shaming?

Obesity advertising is causing a stir these days. A billboard campaign for a local hospital's surgery solutions suggests obesity is a disease, not a choice. A TV campaign of a few months ago caused a brief dust up when an on-screen child sat facing his mom and asked "Why am I fat?" Now a new campaign has hit the air waves from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The above link was sent to me by a friend with whom I worked on a project for the Coalition to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) which is made up of the City of Chicago, Lurie's Childrens Hospital, and about 150 community organizations. My friend and I continue to discussed aspects of obesity, healthy food access, and related topics despite the fact that the project is over because his primary business has to do with innovative aspects of relationships between food, water and energy and the impact they have on our way of life.

Here's my take on the BCBS ads: If parents aren't role models what are they? In our culture, no one is ever at fault, no one is ever a loser, no one is ever responsible for their actions or those of their kids. Parents should be very much responsible for the actions of their kids up to a certain age, To some degree, we either become our parents or choose to be the complete opposite. Coming from an overweight (obese) parent, which I am, whose own kids are NOT overweight, I see how my eating and exercise habits have not been good examples for my children. They made better choices with regard to diet and exercise despite the poor example I set. On the other hand, I seldom drink, we only have alcohol available in the house when guests are over, my wife never drinks and yet both of our kids like to drink (and get drunk).
Personally, as a consumer, a parent and a fat guy, I am not the least bit offended by these ads nor do I consider them to be bullying, shaming, or inappropriate. They're just poorly made. In both spots, the acting is so bad and over the top that I find the actors to be unlikable. Both boys in the "guy" spot are whiny and less than talented actors. In the mom and daughter spot the woman's facial expressions and body movement are so forced, I am unmoved by her. Poor acting/directing killed what could have been effective ads. In other words, I get the message but I am not likely to take action. Ultimately, the duty of all advertising is to sell something/provoke action and I don't see that happening here. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just Say No to Presidential Debates

Here are five reasons I will not be watching any of the Presidential debates:
1. The candidates are so heavily scripted and rehearsed within strict, pat answers nothing of any significance will be revealed unless reason #2 is in play.
2. Like NASCAR events, most people watch hours of debates just to witness the crashes. The price/value relation just isn't there for me.
3. For days afterwards, the media will be slicing and dicing to inform us as to who won, why and how. The story will be unavoidable unless you live under a rock. Oh, wait, that would mean you'd be neighbors with an elected official of some stripe.
4. I voted for Obama last time, not that I believed one word of his rhetoric, but because I felt strongly we as a nation had to get past the "black man as president" issue. My view then, as it is now, was he would prove to be no significant change from what we've had for generations in the White House. His color proved to be a nonissue in his leadership or lack thereof, depending on your political leanings. Romney's being a Morman is just his flavor, which, like Obama, will have no bearing on the office. Listening to either of them spout their moral values is a waste of time and anyone who claims they found either candidate "more believable or presidential" through this staged charade probably also dedicates viewing hours to watching "Honey Boo Boo."
5. Outside of their fiscal views, I see little difference in either party. Every President, regardless of party, has contributed to the dire economic state and decline in the standard of living of the average American. Both parties took their turns at the wheel, embraced wars we had no business fighting, foreign and domestic policies that serve their cronies ahead of the people, and proved that regardless of who is in office, the debt gets deeper and "facts" (statistics) are presented to make it look the other side's fault. Obama (the multimillionaire) will tell us how evil the wealthy are and how he's fighting for the middle class. Romney will tell us that free enterprise and the ability to amass wealth is what creates jobs for the middle class.

I doubt there's anyone left in America of voting age that is still undecided about how they intend to vote. If they exist and  use the debates to form their opinion I hope they get exactly the government they deserve.