JUNK SCIENCE: Disney Kicks Some Ass-Clown Ass

ELIZABETH FIEND REPORTS:

Breaking News: Bear takes over organics in Pooh D’Etat!
This is a really embarrassing situation, me being an anarchist and all, writing a column praising Disney. But it’s gotta be done. I have some friends that get crazy-mad at any mention of Disney. Me, I really don’t think about Disney that much. Until now. I heart Disney!mickey.jpg

Disney has made several announcements over the past few months, each one focusing on healthy food changes that the Giant Mouse will be implementing in his theme parks, restaurants, advertising campaigns, when making licensing deals and a change in philosophy that will have a major effect on the way our supermarket aisles will look.

For years Disney has licensed its culturally invasive brand to crappy, fat laden food sold by McDonald’s and Burger King, sugary, high caloric, low fiber cereals from Kelloggs and tie-ins with killer Coca Cola. But now, the Mouse That Roars is hungry to nurture positive, healthful tie-ins and actually promote wholesome food. Say what!?!? The motivation, Disney claims is to distance themselves from foods that contribute to childhood obesity and a plan to link its marketing to good nutrition. Sing it sister, “Whose the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? M-I-C, K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E.” For Disney, this is a wise, forward-thinking business move. It’s also a major undertaking.

For the first time ever, due solely to poor nutrition, the current generation of American kids may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. This is a totally preventable, freaking disgrace. In my book as long as the entertainment industry uses its cartoon characters to sell junk to kids they are culpable of contributing, maybe even causing this nutritional pickle. America’s problem with nutrition is not a passing fad, it’s not going to go away unless we enact sweeping cultural changes.

Out are all trans-fats. Say good bye to artificial, sugary beverages, snacks and desserts. Say hi-de-ho to hamburgers on whole wheat buns, pizza with lower fat cheese, and snacks with an eye on portion control. Results have been positive, 71% of guests rated the taste of Disney’s new trans-fat free fries as excellent or very good.

From now on in Disney fooderies the healthiest options like unsweetened apple sauce, carrots, 100% fruit juice and low fat milk will be the defaults instead of being the options. Oh sh*t, they’re going to start offering vegetarian fare too!?!?!

But that’s not all folks. This major sea-world-change in philosophy doesn’t only apply to the food served at Disney restaurants. Also up for grabs are who will get all that cartoon-capital by licensing Disney spokes-characters and who will get to make lucrative product tie-ins. No longer will Lightning McQueen be inside boxes of chocolate chip Pop-Tarts and super sweet, I-have-nothing-to-do-with-real-fruit Apple Jacks. SpongeBob Square Pants won’t be packing-any-fudge-cookies for Kelloggs either. Disney’s new guide lines will include limits on calories, and the amount of fat and sugar that will be allowed in packaged foods marketed to kids via Disney characters.

On top of all that, Disney entertainment will now include healthy elements in their storylines. The new health guidelines will not however continue on to companies who advertise on the many Disney TV stations. Thank goodness, cuz I really couldn’t handle any more good will from this annoying company.

This 180 degree change in marketing strategy means that Disney has to switch-up who they’re doing business with. Right now, Ronald McDonald’s shadow is everywhere at Disney theme parks. Disney read the Clown the riot act, “Get rid of trans-fat or we get rid of you.” McDonald’s didn’t comply. So Disney announced that they will not renew a 10-year global promotional contract with McDonald’s since trans-fat, the artery-clogging, bad cholesterol-rising substance is used in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, biscuits, sausage, McGriddles, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, even its milk shakes. McDonald’s insists they are trying to rid their food of trans-fats it’s just too hard. Boo hoo, I’m crying. Just f*cking do it already!

Advertising on fruit?!? Yeah, you heard that right. Disney is launching the Disney Garden brand. An endeavor that hopes to be enor-mouse enough to supply an entire produce department with fruit and vegetables bearing Disney spokes-character labels and tie-ins. Yep, you’re used to seeing annoying, rampant, cartoon idiots in the sugary cereal and snack aisles, well now you’ll be inundated with them in the produce aisle as well.

In fact, Disney wants to totally dominate the produce section. Already in stores are grapes packed in Mickey and Minnie boxes, Daisy Duck and Goofy stickers grace peaches. SpongeBob on carrots? Saw it already in the South Philly Acme. It was kinda freaky and yeah, it revolted me. But parents say Disney based characters used in advertising have fueled the worst kind of pester-power. OK, so let the little tikes pester their parents for some vegetables and fruit. It’s not just Disney either. Look out for Dora the Explorer oranges and Tasmanian Devil apples courtesy of Time Warner, Warner Bros.

While there’s actually very little no money to be made thru the branding of fruit, it’s the amount of good will to be had and of course the plot to superimpose images of cartoon-spokes-models in yet another entire department of the supermarket that’s fueling these changes. It’s already under way in Europe, with 300 new Disney food products, including the putting of collectable stickers on the skin of fruit. Kids can collect the stickers and put them in sticker books. “Look Johnny, I already ate 18 Pooh apples. You only ate 6. Ha, ha.”¬†Seems the kids are chomping, sales of fruit bearing Disney characters have exceeded sales of old, boring, unbranded fruit sold at the same price.

Breaking news: Bear takes over organics in Pooh D’Etat! Winnie the Pooh will be the mascot for Disney’s organic items. Ick. Is it just me? Or do other people not like to see the word pooh on their food?

Following these announcements, Disney shares dropped 8 cents, McD’s down 6 cents.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Fiend is Philadelphia’s Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart. Most people don’t know it yet, but that will change. Miss Fiend is host of the Big Tea Party. But enough of my yackin’, here’s Elizabeth with the 411 on her column: “Most people don’t think about the fact that science doesn’t determine our government’s regulations and recommendations for health and the environment, it’s sleazy politicking and backroom lobbying that makes the rules and I would like to bring this fact more to the forefront,” she says. “My philosophy is decidedly anti-big business/governmental lobbying but in line with the science of (my idol, ok crush) Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard University School of Public Health. There’s an edge to it, but it’s not goofy new age-y stuff with no basis in fact. And besides all that, I am the most fun of all the health advocates. I’m the only one who consistently wears pink and is brewing absinthe in her kitchen (excuse me, that’s illegal, infusing absinthe).” Word.

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