If you’ve ever wondered why you just can’t shake those last five pounds, or why your soda and Doritos cravings seem to control your life, there’s finally an answer. It’s celebrities’ fault. A recent study aimed to examine the connection between celebrity endorsements, our easily swayed brains, and our intake of poison disguised as food products.
Obesity has become such a pressing public health issue that society must acknowledge the human suffering and costs associated with diabetes, obesity, and associated comorbidities. Musicians, actors, and other celebrities can be tremendously influential, particularly for the young fan base that may be swayed by their endorsements.
The study established musicians’ popularity based on Billboard lists and music awards nominations, then tracked their endorsements. After consumer goods, most celebrities endorsed sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks and “energy-dense, nutrient-poor” food products.
Just a couple of examples: Beyoncé has a $50 million deal with Pepsi and Justin Timberlake got $6 million from McDonald’s. Those companies wouldn’t shell out that kind of cash if it didn’t pay off in the kind of money we, the unsuspecting music and sugar loving audiences then throw their way.
Every year, American children see 4700 advertisements, and adolescents view 5900 advertisements.1 The scale of this exposure is similar to that of youth-targeted tobacco advertisements, which permeated television, video games, sporting events, and movies.
And while celebrity tobacco endorsements are down, those sweet, sweet sugar endorsements are way up.
Celebrity ads appear to be popular, with >312 million viewers watching the 94 videos associated with celebrity food and nonalcoholic beverage endorsements in this sample on YouTube alone.
Just on YouTube! I guess we can take some solace in the knowledge that our weight issues aren’t our fault, they’re Beyoncé’s. Personally, I take most food endorsements from Ron Swanson, which is a whole other set of problems.
I don’t know, Ron. I don’t know.