This Super Bowl Sunday both on and off the field viewers watched the Giants and the Patriots. Between plays and at halftime, the off-the-field giants were Big Soda, with their ads for their elixir of obesity and diabetes. And you can bet the ads for Coke and Pepsi contained a subtle message to you to supersize it.
Don't get me wrong, I am drawn in by the ads as much as the next guy. Why wouldn't I be, seeing as they're written by the best ad men and women in the business? But that doesn't mean I buy their message or their products. The amazing thing to me is that anyone does. Liquid fat. That's what these sugary drinks are. And with it hard enough to stay away from the good stuff on the kitchen table why would anyone waste good coin on the swill that Big Soda sells?
So by now you are probably wondering, who are the off-the-field patriots? In my book they're the people behind the new Kick the Can website.
Who? The California Center for Public Health Advocacy, that's who. A nonpartisan, nonprofit, organization that raises awareness about critical public health issues and mobilizes communities to promote the establishment of effective state and local health policies.
I know, they're hardly the household name that decades of soda ads have made Coke and Pepsi. But if life were fair, on Sunday you would have been watching their PSAs on NBC alongside the shameless shilling for soda which solid scientific evidence has shown to be strongly linked to obesity. The hundreds of added empty calories many Americans consume daily when they take a big gulp are taking their toll on our waistline. Go to Kick the Can to learn how adults who drink one or more sodas a day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese. Once you do, maybe the airbrushed prom queens and kings paid handsomely to tout the virtues of soda won't look as sultry or buff as they once did. But like the Giants' defensive line, you're tough so you can take it.
While not much is certain in this world, one thing you can take to the bank is that you can't runs as fast or throw as far when you're carrying the extra baggage that soda puts on you. So go ahead and Kick the Can. And be sure to check out the group's new app and share it with your friends.
Maybe you'll learn something and still get back in time to enjoy the game highlights on ESPN.
Disclosure: Joel Epstein is an at-large board member of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.