I love American Idol. Sorry to see it end this week. I watch from the early city auditions to the bitter end, even when my fave is unceremoniously voted off (Durbin rules!). But I have to say there is something really disturbing about those Coca-Cola ads and I can't pretend I don't see them anymore. I tried that for awhile. But they aren't regular ads that you can TiVo past. They're embedded, like a dogged reporter, throughout the content of the show. They are more supersized than the high flying contestants themselves and more attention-grabbing than Ryan Seacrest's side jokes, Steven Tyler's swears and J-Lo's glow. And plastic tumblers filled with the stuff are worked into almost every shot of the beloved judges.
But the average age of Idol's young fans has to be around 11. And hello, we have an obesity epidemic in America. Soda now comprises nearly ten percent of our kid's calories... empty, tooth rotting, diabetes-provoking, sticky sweet calories! It's bad enough that the corporate sponsor American Idol has chosen for their product placement is loaded with sugar and calories. But to make things worse, its soda cans are coated with Bisphenol A -- commonly called BPA -- a factory-made hormone-mimicking chemical linked to obesity promotion (and possibly cancer), too.
Hey American idol, according to a CDC survey, a whopping 93% of your viewers could have BPA sneaking into their systems. A handful of U.S. states have already banned BPA for various uses. Canadian and European lawmakers banned BPA for use in products such as baby bottles or food containers designed for young children, and even China is thinking of instituting a ban. So my question is, is it perfect harmony (Coke's clever ad line for their Idol campaign) to be selling a product with a can lined with this hormone-twisting (endocrine disruptor) chemical that has been connected to breast cancer, ADHD and infertility?
And now back to Ryan Seacrest. Hey Ry, how ironic that when you leave the American Idol set, you head over to produce ABC's Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, a show working its butt off to get kids eating and drinking better. A show whose mantra is that the American diet is killing us. How do you reconcile that?
Ryan, if you can help summon 90 million call-in votes, surely you can use some of your clout to push the Idol producers to consider a saner, healthier choice for next year's sponsor. Or at least lose the tacky embedding. That would be a good start.
And, hey, Coca-Cola, remember your great old slogan, "It's the real thing!" Well, now it's time to do the right thing: Call back your board of directors and make them abandon their decision to continue to line all your cans with this endocrine disrupting chemical. It's too late to give James Durbin a do-over, but let's give your board of directors another chance to do the real thing for our kids.