Crafting Positive Messages About ‘Bad’ Food Just Got Harder


What do you do when a Harvard study says that your products are bad for people, even if consumed in moderation? No, I'm not talking about cigarettes.

Reuters reported that a 20-year study from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital says that consistent intake of potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meat leads to gradual weight gain. This alone is not a great surprise.

One of the key findings, according to the researchers, is that some kinds of calories are simply "bad" calories, even if consumed in small portions over time. Not all calories are equal.

In other words, there's no way to scarf potato chips or guzzle root beer responsibly. Instead of "no one can eat just one," no one should eat one.

From a brand reputation perspective, how does a company that produces food and/or beverages found to be irredeemably bad by Harvard researchers respond to the inevitable criticism? The study says that moderate intake of these bad foods doesn't prevent weight gain over a long period of time, so saying something along the lines of "we respect our customers' ability to make smart choices and keep a balanced diet" doesn't really work.

So, assuming that such a company has a diversified product line (a safe assumption), the best direct response to the study is to focus messaging on its food products that are good calorie replacements for the bad.

Pass the nuts and raisins, please.




1 Comment

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit with Taste of Tech

prn_ms_175x135_ep

Unlike other conferences, you’ll be immersed in the strategies and tactics that you can apply right away to your work as a communicator. You’ll learn what it takes to compete for attention, engagement and positive brand awareness across an array of social media networks.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Digital PR & Social Media Guidebook

DigitalPRSocialMedia_PrintDigital_vol6

This guidebook has one essential purpose: helping you maximize your communications effectiveness in the digital world. The articles in this guidebook produced both by the PR News staff and more than fifty communications industry thought leaders, focus on most every facet of digital PR and social media.

Use code “DIGITAL6” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

  • Gordon

    In other words…change the subject!