Superbowl XLVI Commercials Contradict NFL’s Play 60 Initiative


The final moments of Superbowl XLVI saw 12,233 tweets per second, needless to say there were millions of viewers. Loyal football fans reached an overnight rating of 47.8 according to Darren Rovell of CSNBC. With so many viewers, why would the NFL defy their very own Play 60 initiative through the commercials during the Superbowl?

Play 60 kicked off in 2007, focusing on young people to be active, or play, for at least 60 minutes a day. Through their efforts, the NFL hopes to reduce childhood obesity rates.

126 commercials and sponsorship announcements were aired during Superbowl XLVI, beginning after Kelly Clarkson sang the National Anthem until The Voice premiere immediately following the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation and Eli Manning’s MVP Award.

Of the 126 commercials and sponsorship announcements, only seven (5.5%) were related to health, fitness and well-being.

The first was a Volkswagen commercial featuring an overweight dog.  The dog worked to eat healthier, exercise, and lose weight to catch the Volkswagen.

Sketchers took the third commercial with a very quick statement after the dog moon-walked across the race finish line: Go Run.

The third was an advertisement for the Play 60 Initiative.

Oikos Greek Yogurt, coming in at an A to B- range on the Fooducate application, took the fourth commercial by focusing the attention of a how delicious a healthy product can be.

A local advertisement, Mercy Health, was the fifth health-related commercial.

The sixth and seventh commercials took place after the MVP Award and before the premiere of The Voice.  The sixth was a Nicorette commercial to help people achieve a better lifestyle, and the seventh was an ad for 5 Hour Energy.  While I don’t know how healthy a 5 Hour Energy shot really is, it still speaks to the overall well-being, and craving for more energy our society has.

An alarming 21.4% of the commercials and sponsorship announcements promoted an unhealthy diet, a large contributing factor to childhood obesity. Poor diet promotions included Budlight and Budweiser, Doritos snacks, M & M’s Candy, Coke, Pepsi, Wendy’s fast food, McDonald’s fast food, and a local fast food restaurant, Skyline Chili. This figure excludes the Chevrolet commercial which featured the fast food chain Frisch’s Big Boy and Hostess Twinkies.

Want to do an experiment (come on, it will be fun)?  Let’s pretend we ate or drank all of the unhealthy items advertised, during the Superbowl.  If each commercial or sponsorship announcement counted as one serving of the advertised product, we would have consumed 6 Budlights, 5 Budweisers, 5 Cokes (8 oz glass bottles, a polar bear’s favorite), 3 Pepsis (12 oz cans), 3 servings of Doritos (about 11 chips), 1 serving of M&M’s (about 1.69 oz), a 3-Way from Skyline, 2 single cheeseburgers from  Wendy’s and a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. Totaling 5,265 calories between the hours of 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. last night.  Calories from fat for each of the beverages are not included on the provided nutritional information.  If we only count the food and snacks, the calories from fat are 1,360 out of 2,930 total calories (that’s 46.4%!).

Isn’t the NFL, with its Play 60 partnership, allowing extremely poor diet options to advertise during their biggest event of the year just like a pro-life organization allowing Planned Parenthood to promote during their event?

How do we change this culture of poor food choices and unhealthy habits?  Some would say the New Age Movement has begun to do so already through awareness of holistic health and the mind, body and spirit.


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