Are We All Really Suckers for What Athlebrities Try to Sell Us?

Is it wrong that athletes, supposed symbols of health, will endorse anything for a couple [million] bucks?

People are really outraged that athletes are endorsing crappy food -- claiming their commercials may negatively impact the wellbeing of teenagers.  

Researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University compiled a list of the top 100 athletes and the products they are promoting. Turns out that of the 512 brands being hawked by these sports stars, 62 of the products are foods, 49 of which are “high in calories and low in nutritional value.” These winning athletes also stood behind 46 sports drinks, most of them loaded with sugar.

Marketing gurus have established that children ages 12 to 17 are most likely to be influenced by these types of advertisements. And understandably so -- those are their idols, but nutrition experts and advocates are slamming the sports figures for contributing to childhood obesity.

Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. But Serena and Venus Williams for Oreos? Lebron James for Dunkin Donuts…and Coca Cola? Yes, it’s contradictory. But disappointing? Only if you let it be. And wrong? I’d say that was debatable.

I think we’ve all caught on to the fact that there is big money in advertising. Athletes -- and celebrities, in general -- are paid handsomely to say, “My name is ‘fill in the blank’ and I like this ‘fill in the blank.’” Sure, these people are making one hell of a living from their day jobs already, so why do they need to sell their souls to make more money shilling? Well, that’s the thing. They don’t need to -- they want to. Accept it. They know these ads are not bettering humanity but they endorse them anyway. They may be really good at catching balls but they might not have the soundest of judgment.

It’s our job as parents, teachers, aunts, older cousins, etc. to tell the younger people in our lives that superstars are not Gods. Sure, Serena is allowed to indulge in Oreos and LeBron can go to the golden arches whenever he wants – they are human, they are adults, the decision is theirs. Likewise, we can also make the decision to Oreo or not to Oreo. Only, if we Oreo, instead of a few millions of dollars, we gain nothing but a few pounds.

In a perfect world, everyone’s business motives are genuine and for the good of all mankind. But at the end of the day, we cannot blame celebrities for the actions we take. We are in control of our choices -- and that freedom is more powerful than any commercial could ever hope to be.

Even if it involves Michael:

Or the new Michael:

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