A Wag Of My Finger: American Express Launches Partnership with Dunkin' Donuts on World Health Day! REALLY?

06/07/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Really, American Express? You chose World HEALTH Day to announce your unfortunate partnership with Dunkin' Donuts? I am in shock at how out of touch you must be. What's good for business is not always good for the people who pay you. And where would you be without us?

In the midst of a national obesity crisis (72+ million) , skyrocketing type 2 diabetes diagnoses, food companies saving face by publicly announcing cuts in salts and fats, and the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, you brilliantly decide to give your card-wielding members the privilege of stuffing themselves with cream-filled insulin shots for a go at free money. Why?!

Now, as Living Editor at the Huffington Post, I get a lot of interesting emails, but your press release stopped me dead in my tracks. Particularly the following:

Now, every time a Blue, Blue Cash, or Blue Sky Cardmember shops four times in a calendar month at any Dunkin' Donuts restaurant nationwide using their American Express Card, they will receive a $5 Dunkin' Donuts Card.

Are you proud of this? I can only imagine the excitement with which you co-wrote the press release with Dunkin Donuts' New York PR machine--probably while sipping on Skinny Soy Lattes from Starbucks. This partnership is so outrageously ridiculous, that the only thing I can do is quote my man Stephen Colbert and wag my finger at you!

Why not partner with a company working hard to provide more affordable healthy options?

And guess what? There is no limit to the number of Dunkin' Donuts Cards you can receive! Now, I acknowledge that some of us may have the self-control to only purchase coffee at one of Dunkin Donuts' fine establishments, but for 15 million Americans suffering from binge eating disorder and untold millions suffering from food addiction (yes, millions of people are biochemically addicted to high sugar and fat content in certain foods!), self-control is not an option.

Chevese Turner is the CEO and Founder of Binge Eating Disorder Association. She believes rewarding people with food is not a wise decision on the part of American Express. "From the eating disorder viewpoint and also the world of food addiction we're concerned when there's any sort of marketing movement that encourages food as a reward," she said. "Corporations need to think about the ramifications of something like this. Would they hand out gift certificates for alcohol or cigarettes?"

Well, maybe that's what American Express wants--an addiction to Dunkin' Donuts means the machine keeps spinning.

According to the release, Dunkin' Donuts is the first dining partner to join The Blue Savings Program.

Hey, American Express, why don't you quit while you're ahead! Maybe you can partner with Dunkin' Donuts to power our planes with its unused hydrogenated oils instead. Now that's a partnership I'd spend my points on.