Monday 30 December 2013

Would you like some chicken with that fat?

It was while watching the cricket over the preceding months that I became enraged, as usual, with the advertising.
Alcohol at 9.30 in the morning and fat all day.
The cricket goes for seven hours a day, and so these ads saturated, both the airwaves, and subsequently, the consumers' arteries.
My friend Michael put it best when he contacted the takeaway food company in question, KFC, and said,  "If the purpose of showing KFC ads during the cricket Test with such unbelievable frequency was to so antagonise viewers that we will never again buy a piece of KFC, then congratulations. You've achieved it.
KFC did reply to him and say they will take his point on board, and pass on his thoughts to the marketing department, but as any of you who have been reading this will know, that is company speak for 'fuck off'.
Now sadly, these ads clearly work, there is no way on this Earth that these companies would spend the amounts they do if it didn't work, which then leads us to the question of what to do about it?
Well I would suggest that we all take a leaf out of Michael's book, and simply contact KFC at and make your views known.
You might also contact Cricket Australia at

But then people should be allowed to spend their money on what they want, and if they choose to buy KFC then really that is their choice.
However, the ads in question push this product so relentlessly, so torrentially frequently, that the unthinking consumer starts to think that everybody must be eating this stuff, so if I don't there is something wrong with me.
But the US has shown the way.
As can be seen from this story in The Telegraph, California has moved to ban unhealthy foods from the poorer areas of the city in an attempt to reduce obesity rates.
92% of the food establishments in South LA are takeaway fat services, while West LA has a mere 42%.
South LA is a savagely poor area, while West LA, on the coastal side, contains the movie star suburbs of Malibu and Hollywood.
So at this point I thought I better gesture toward being a real journalist and do a bit of research on how healthy or otherwise KFC is.
Actually this Nutrition Calculator was pretty accurate in the end.
So I went to the KFC Australia website and found their nutrition calculator to find out how much fat there is in the stuff, and sure enough, it doesn't work, or it didn't work when I tried it, the picture shows my results.
So I contacted KFC as Michael did earlier and asked if their calculator works or not, and have as yet received no reply.
However, guessing that KFC wants to keep their fat percentage secret, I found another website, the enigmatically titled, and got this result.
I say enigmatic, as I wonder about the 'find the best" part, I thought it was all garbage, but there you go.
Anyway, this website gives the following values for a "Thigh Value Box" of KFC.
41g out of 215 is the fat load, or 19%.
To be fair though to KFC, an ordinary piece of roast chicken is rated as 13% fat, so they are 'only' adding 7% fat to the stuff.
So what's the argument?
Well I think what annoys me most about the onslaught of KFC ads on the cricket is that it shows the Australian cricketers eating it.
For those overseas reading this, cricket is a professional sport in Australia, and the athletes that play it are top of the range fit.
And this is a perennial argument with fatty food ads, which is that they never show fat people in the ads.
Modern cricketers are very fit, gone are the days when guys like Eddie Hemmings and Colin Cowdrey could cut it at the top level, and so to see modern fit cricketers eating this stuff is the height of hypocrisy.
A porky Colin Cowdrey
facing Jeff Thomson.

I remember once as a young man who still ate takeaway garbage and still ate meat going with my friends to KFC in Vancouver, ahead of us at the counter,  was a guy who took up two places in the queue, he was that overweight.
I said as an aside to my friend Todd, "you don't see guys like that in the ads, do you?"
He nodded, and we all went for the lowest calorie option we could find.
And I in no way am, or was, making fun of the obese man in the queue, I have my sights set squarely on KFC for constantly tempting people who are struggling with their weight to eat more of the stuff.
But back to the current day, in the Australian cricket team at the moment is my current sporting hero, Peter Siddle, probably Australia's best known vegan.
Siddle eats twenty odd bananas during a day's play, and seems to function well on it.
Hashim in his logo-less shirt.
 Which therefore makes me wonder how he feels about the team he plays for being sponsored by a company that makes millions putting chickens to death.
There is a precedent here, involving the South African player, Hashim Amla,.
Hashim is a Muslim and the South African team is sponsored by a beer company.
 So Hashim put his beliefs into action and said he didn't want to wear the alcohol company's logo on his shirt.
This caused some consternation among the powers that be in South African cricket and there was talk of fining him for a short while.
But, and here we can dare to hope, reason returned to her throne and Hashim was allowed to play without advertising something that defied his Muslim principles.
And there is another example from America, which is less to so with principle and all to do with money, but is none the less relevant to this debate.
The American basketball team that goes to the Olympics each four years is famously called the Dream Team.
This name comes from fact that for many years pundits would comment along the lines of 'how good would it be if the greatest players in the NBA, Jordan, Ewing, Shaq and the rest were in the same team?'
So the Olympics is the only time we see this lot together and they win every time.
Hashim's team mate Faf Du Plessis,
with the beer company
logo prominent on his right breast.
However, there was  a kerfuffle over advertising, the team is sponsored by Coke, but Shaquille O'Neil was personally sponsored by Pepsi.
Thus after the final they held a press conference and Shaq made sure there was a Pepsi in front of him, in defiance of team orders, and the shit hit the fan big time.
Coke were outraged, Pepsi happy, the team officials running around like headless chooks trying to find a compromise, but how could there be?
Coke said 'No Pepsi'.
Shaq said, 'I'm a Pepsi man.'
It was never sorted out, but I raise the issue because it shows that one person, albeit a super famous one, can make a difference when it comes to taking sponsors on, and therefore so can we.
So we can but hope that here in Australia we may continue to ride the groundswell of complaint lead by Michael above and our sport may one day be broadcast again with, for a start, less ads for KFC and alcohol, and, even more hopefully, none at all.

Consumer watch dogging

And I'll just finish with this little warning.
Like most middle-aged men I have to watch what I eat and so have become an inveterate reader of the ingredient list on the side of any product I buy.
So one day I was in my local outlet of the big two supermarkets when I came across this bottle of salad dressing.
I avoid fatty things, mayo being one, and so was hoping this product would provide me with a change from the vinaigrette dressings I am confined to.

However, one of the ingredients listed in this prduct is Parmesan cheese, so I went down to the dairy section and learned that the lightest Parmesan there was fifty percent fat.
So I contacted the company, Goodman Fielder and asked if this can be true, is there only one per cent fat in this product?
That was on the 12th of December, and I am still waiting for an answer, but given the Australian propensity for fatty foods, I'd avoid it if you're watching your weight.

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