18 July 2012

Pablo's Olympic Rant

Today, I present a guest rant from Pablo:

Is it just me, or has the Olympic spirit been hijacked by consumerism and global commercialism? Or is it just the Government which has rolled over and allowed foreign-owned global companies to take ownership of all that should provide guidance and good rĂ´le models for future generations?

The Olympic Games should promote the twin ideals of competition and fitness.  Ok, three ideals, competition, fitness and health.   And  a spirit of international friendship.  OK, four, then.  Interesting to see the major sponsors of the Olympics entering into that spirit, isn’t it?

McDonalds?  A major sponsor of a major sporting event promoting health and competition?  Yeah, right.   A global company which has expanded by shamelessly marketing junk food to one of the most vulnerable groups in society, our children, then relies on the witter factor, and that wonderful bit of human psychology, peer pressure, the need to follow like sheep, to ensure that if you don’t take your kids to McDonalds, they will feel excluded by their friends. So they grow up on a diet of McNuggets (mechanically processed chicken, mixed with a number of chemicals) and each helping providing over 60% of your daily sodium intake (the main cause of high blood pressure) and over 40% of your recommended maximum fat intake.   Vitamins?   You have to be joking!

And that is before you add the fries (mechanically processed potatoes, NOT even proper chips, note) and their own load of coated sugar and salt to make you crave for more.  So much for the healthy.  If you want to read their ingredient lists, click here.

But what of the competition?   McDonalds apparently have enough financial clout to create their own chip monopoly without actually selling chips themselves.  They have banned their smaller competitors from selling chips unless they are as an integral part of fish and chips.  Want chips with your burger?  Sorry, mate, you will have to go to McDonalds. And have fries.

I could say more about McDonalds, but I won’t.   So what of the other major sponsors?  On the news this morning was a piece about that purveyor of sporting goods, Adidas.  They promote health, fitness and competition, don’t they?  Well, not exactly.  So far as I know, there are two mainstream sporting brands who market to the brand conscious.  The other is Nike.  Go in any McDonalds and the place is full of sporting wannabees.  If they aren’t wearing England football shirts, they will almost certainly be wearing Adidas or Nike kit and, given, that the lifetime diet of supersized 'happy meals' has ensured that anything other than the most gentle exercise will probably kill them, you have got to wonder at the power of advertising and the need to follow the crowd.  I would guess that the majority of branded sports kit has never been worn on the track, sportsfield or in the gym.

But this is not my point.  My point is that the major sponsor of the Olympics, Adidas was reported on this morning’s news as having banned all children taking part in the opening ceremony from wearing any branded trainers other than Adidas.  

Competition, fitness and health?  My arse! Will I be watching the Olympic Games? No, you will find me headed in the opposite direction on two wheels. At least there will be less traffic on the roads.

No comments: