Opinion

Dear Walt Disney Co.

Associate Editor Crystal Lindell can’t wait for the Disney Co.’s new ad guidelines to start working

June 6, 2012
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crystal lindellDear Walt, (I can call you Walt, right?),

I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about your latest move in the fight against childhood obesity! Can I get a Woot! Woot!

As someone who wholeheartedly believes that the media we consume impacts us more than we know, I find it positively magical that you have “introduced new standards for food advertising on our programming targeting kids and families.”

The new criteria ya’ll have laid out for all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored or promoted on basically everything with the word “Disney*” in it by 2015 is wonderful.

It’s not exactly rocket science to know that every meal should have less than 600 calories in them, and every mini meal should have less than 400 calories. Although I admit, I’m a bit confused about what the difference is between a “complete meal” and a “mini meal.” Is the “mini meal” like the “Fourth meal” at Taco Bell? Or is it more like a  Snack Wrap at McDonald’s?

Also, it’s kind of a downer that you’ll require all snacks to be less than 1-oz. per serving and have less than 150 calories. Not to point out the obvious, but that nixes most candy bars including my personal favorite — Snickers, which is 2 oz. and has 271 calories.

But, like I said, the whole thing really is awesome! And I seriously cannot wait for it to start working, because, well, I actually know a few kids who could stand to lose some weight, if you know what I mean?

It’s really eye opening to realize that this whole time, the childhood obesity epidemic could be fixed by simply changing your advertisements. Silly me, I assumed that the American culture was to blame.

The culture that insists children be involved in every activity ever by age 4 at the very latest so as to assure them a spot at Harvard — even at the sacrifice of everything else — including healthy food served around a family dinner table. McDonald’s just makes more sense when you have to take your child to softball practice, then drive them to an audition for the musical and then help them with their 3 hours of homework so they can stay in honors classes, am I right?

I also figured that the epidemic was at least due in part to the pervasive idea that kids are safer inside watching The Wizards of Waverly Place than they are at the playground two whole blocks away.  

I mean, here I was believing that poor school lunches served to the masses, fewer minutes of gym class and fast food meals sold for $2 were to blame. But this whole time, it was confectionery and snack food commercials for unhealthy food on your programs.

Crazy.

It’s also great to know that I can eat whatever I want as long as it’s promoted on the Disney Channel. Don’t tell anyone, but I totally just came up with a diet book idea!

So, how long do you think it will take before children start to shed some pounds as a result of your new advertising policy? Like a week? Week and a half? I’ve got my fingers crossed for sure.

While we’re on the topic of changing children, I was wondering if there was one other thing you could fix?

Specifically, is there anything you can do about the mass epidemic of materialism in America?

I mean, really, kids these days would prefer their families spend thousands of dollars annually on overpriced theme park admission tickets, Mickey Mouse ears, Buzz Lightyear Dolls, Belle princess costumes, Minnie Mouse stuffed animals, and cruise ship trips rather than save money for college, or pay off credit card or mortgage debt.

It’s terrible and if we’re not careful, that kind of thing could lead to an economic crisis.

Maybe you could start to insist that everything you sell be less than $10 per person, or be affordable based on the recommended daily family budget guidelines. Oh wait, that would probably hinder your ability to sell indulgences and you know, stay in business, wouldn’t it? Come to think of it though, isn’t that what the junk food companies are trying to do — sell indulgences and stay in business?

Well, what’s good for the goose and all that. In closing, thanks for fixing all our children’s weight. Hope to hear back soon about the materialism stuff!

The next Disney princess,
Crystal

*The Disney Company’s new advertising guidelines will apply to the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney and Disney-owned online destinations oriented to families with younger children.  

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