There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of “Children’s Health Magazine“, Rodale Press’ latest magazine endeavour (whose line-up includes Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention to name a few).
The magazine appears to have all the right ingredients for success (at least it’s inaugural issue does)–including none other than the First Lady on the cover and featured in an exclusive interview within, as well as Oprah’s go-to Doc Mehmet Oz, weighing in on the 5 most critical health tips for new parents.Flip through the advertisements however, and you may be struck with a sense of irony when you realize that 7 out of the 15 pages of ads feature General Mills cereals, whose cereals include Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios, to name a few.
Reprehensible, reality, or both?
I find it very difficult to get past the glaring contradiction of the situation. Viscerally, it seems wrong that a magazine dedicated to the health of our children would be advertising the very products that are (at least in some part) responsible for the poor health they are trying to help curb.
It seems the publishers have either a) sold their souls, or b) been lulled into believing that these boxes of sugar, with some whole grains in them, are actually healthy like the company says they are (they even have a seal of endorsement that says so).
On the reality side of things, perhaps Bruce Hornsby said it best when he said, “That’s just the way it is,” (or was that Tupac?). Regardless, I don’t see much in the way of alternatives, as only companies with huge advertising budgets can foot the high 5 to 6 figure cost of full page advertisements.
One could argue however that if Rodale were truly dedicated to the advancement of children’s health, they would forgo ambitions of profiting from this particular endeavor, instead using the revenue from their other publications to carry Children’s Health.
Perhaps I’m overreacting here. After all, it’s not as though Marlboro or Bud Light are featured in the advertising. Moreover, they wouldn’t be the first children’s wellbeing-based magazine to contain seemingly counterintuitive advertising.
The parenting magazine’s I read are chock full of advertising for sugary convenience foods, juice and formula. Yet still I feel that it is fundamentally wrong to include this kind of marketing in a publication dedicated to children’s health.
To quote Kwame Brown, PhD, director of the International Youth Conditioning Association:
We must understand the difference between lack of surprise and lack of indignation. Our familiarity with a recurring event should never dampen our resolve to change it.
What do you think? Does this matter a little, a lot, or not at all?
Sources: Reuters and NY Times