Stunning observations. Here’s where marketing can become evil indeed…
Last month, the Milbank Quarterly published a paper (pdf) with the provocative-if-unwieldy title “The Perils of Ignoring History: Big Tobacco Played Dirty and Millions Died. How Similar Is Big Food?”
“Eerily similar, according to one of the authors, Kelly Brownell, a psychologist and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.
The highlights: Both industries dismiss legitimate scientific studies as “junk science” if those studies conclude anything remotely negative about their products; both put scientists on their payrolls to make it appear that there is a lack of scientific consensus about the bad health effects of their products; both market products that are supposedly “safer”; both have knowingly marketed unhealthy products to children; and both devote vast resources to lobbying…” More here.
I wonder if this sort of plague on our lives is just inevitable, given our current values.
After all, it is not big industry or a company that does these things…it is people there who make decisions to deny or just hide negative stuff from us (the public). When it affects so many millions of people, we notice. And get mad.
But it starts with each one of us. Although that’s too small a scale for the media to get up in arms, the people affected know it.
Haven’t we all, as individuals, kept information from people at some point?
We all tell others that an opportunity we are selling is easy, that anyone can do it. Yet we do NOT tell up front how many people (most who start) don’t make it.
It’s easy to gloss over that.
Same when people in the big food and tobacco industry deny or don’t tell what looks bad. After all, everyone who smoked didn’t die of cancer did they? Everyone who eats junk food isn’t obese or sickly, are they?
Worse, it’s not just marketers who get away with this…they couldn’t pull it off if they didn’t have a cooperating public.
Isn’t it people who continue to buy junk food or maintain habits we all know aren’t healthy?
It’s as if we, the consumers, want to be deceived – lulled into believing it’s ok to eat sugary starchy stuff because it’s easier to keep those habits than to change them once and for all.
Sellers wouldn’t be making all the junk food (or cigarettes) if no one bought it. Would they?