I am interested to see that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has taken on Topps marketing as a new campaign, and for good reason. Topps, famous for chewing gum and baseball trading cards, makes a bunch of candies aimed at kids, one of them in the shape of infant feeding bottles. Disney is now using a kids’ music group – the Jonas Brothers - to promote the baby bottle candy. Not a good idea.
In 2007, Michael Eisner, the former head of Disney bought Topps from the family firm that had owned it for decades. Long before the sale, I once had lunch with Arthur Shorin, the former owner of Topps. I was impressed by his responsible attitude about marketing candy to children. He was facing a difficult problem. Without doing irresponsible marketing, he couldn’t sell enough candy to stay in business. Hence the sale to Eisner. At the time, Mr. Shorin said “This will be a change in ownership, not a change in direction.” Well, that’s business for you.
Update February 20: thanks to Dan for the correction. Fixed.
Next public appearance
New Directions in the Fight Against Hunger and Malnutrition: A Festschrift in Honor of Per Pinstrup-Anderson. Cornell University, Statler Hotel Amphitheater. The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and ends with a reception the following day with remarks by professor Pinstrup-Anderson at 2:25 p.m.
My joint contribution with Malden Nesheim is from 1:40-2:00 p.m. on “the internationalization of the obesity epidemic: the case of sugar-sweetened sodas.”