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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #155

Culinary no-no's

Cigarette advertising has been all but dead for decades.

And just a few years ago, Hollywood decided it might be best to snuff out scenes of actors and actresses puffing away.

Katie Couric of CBS (I think that’s where she’s currently employed but I'm not sure because I avoid her like the plague) once opined on one of her biting Notebook commentaries, “When is the movie industry going to realize that smoking isn’t a glamorous sexy habit but a deadly addiction that may become a real life feature in the audience it’s trying to attract?”

Whoa, Katie. Don’t want to get too controversial now, would we.

So, scenes like this one with Heather Locklear….

Are soooooooooooooooooooooo wrong.

OK. Let's try this again because it was so fast that some of you might have missed it.

Young theater-goers might see this…..


And run out and buy a pack of Camels!

(Yes, I realize eight seconds of Heather Locklear to make a point hardly seems fair. I'll make up for it, promise. Let's get back to Culinary no-no #155).


That’s yesterday’s smoldering hot topic.

The cigarettes of cinema have given way to a new big screen taboo: Unhealthy food.
Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics a few weeks ago published a new study: “Prevalence of Food and Beverage Brands in Movies: 1996-2005.”

Now I ask you.

Is this timely as hell or what? (Over at the Oscars, Alec Baldwin just wet himself. Some reference was made to Obama or green this or that).

The authors of the study reviewed the top 20 US box office movie hits for each year from 1996 to 2005 and specifically looked for appearances of brands for foods, beverages and food retail establishments. So they analyzed a total of 200 movies during that 10-year period.

What did they find?



  • Of the 200 movies coded, 138 (69%) contained at least 1 food, beverage, or food retail establishment brand.


  • Movies rated PG-13 and R were significantly more likely to have brand placements compared with movies in other rating categories.


  • Comedies, action/adventures, and horror films had more brand placements than other genres.


  • A total of 1180 brand placements were identified and verified, including 427 food, 425 beverage, and 328 food retail establishment brand placements.


  • Candy/confections (26%) and salty snacks (21%) were the most prevalent food brands, sugar-sweetened beverages (76%) were the most prevalent beverage brands, and fast food composed two thirds of the food retail establishment (FRE) brand placements.


  • Food brand placements were categorized into the following product types: (1) breads/grains; (2) breakfast pastries (eg, Pop-Tarts); (3) cereals– high sugar (eg, Froot Loops); (4) cereals– low sugar (eg, Cheerios); (5) condiments; (6) confections/candy (eg, candy, gum); (7) convenience meals; (8) dairy (eg, milk, yogurt, cheese); (9) fruits and vegetables; (10) meat and nuts; (11) salty snacks; (12) sweet snacks/desserts; and (13) other (specify). Beverage brands were coded as (1) no calorie; (2) milk/100% juice, (3) sugar-sweetened beverages, and (4) coffee/tea. FREs were classified as (1)grocery or convenience store, (2) fast food/quick service, (3) casual/family style dining, and (4) fine dining. For example, if a cup with a Wendy’s logo was shown onscreen, then the brand placement would be coded as a FRE and then additionally categorized as “fast food/ quick service.”


  • Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, sports drinks, and fruit drinks) composed the majority (76%) of beverage products, which was significantly greater than no-calorie drinks (14%), milk/100% juice (5%), and coffee/tea (5%). Food brands were more varied with candy/confections (26%), salty snack foods (22%), sweet snacks/desserts (12%), and condiments (9%) composing the majority of placements…Fast food establishments made up the majority (62%) of the FRE brands, significantly greater than the other retail categories.


  • Six companies accounted for 45% of all brand placements: PepsiCo (Purchase,NY), Coca-Cola (Atlanta, GA), Nestle USA (Glendale, CA), McDonald’s (Oak Brook, IL), Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc (Plano, TX), and Burger King (Miami, FL) . 

My oh my, how awful. An American company, choosing to exercise its 1st Amendment rights, using its own money to advertise its product (s). Goodness gracious, what is the world coming to?

The study mentions that kids today have poor diet quality, that they are obese as all get out, and that they’re watching just too much of that old boob tube. I guess Mom and Dad, or if we’re talking certain parts of our urban settings, just Mom, have no clue as to how to turn the ON switch to OFF. They do, of course, know how to enroll in Wisconsin Shares and actually make money, but that’s a different subject.

The authors of the Pediatrics study don’t go so far as to say it, but their implication is about as subtle as a two by four to your proboscis.

It’s not little Tommy or Trudy’s fault that he or she looks like the before ad for Weight Watchers. Mommy and Daddy? No way. It’s Bush. Reagan. El Niño. Not enough federal money. Not enough state money. Not enough local money. Not enough liberal talk radio.


If you are a fat, lazy, good for nothing slug (And yes, some that fit this description do actually read my blog) 

you’re in luck. There are always people like the folks at the American Academy of Pediatrics to find all kinds of excuses for you.

So have another Whopper and bag of Doritos. Meryl Streep says it’s ok.

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