What’s Cookin’? “Paula Deen Pitch Hard to Swallow” – WSJ

By SUZANNE VRANICA

Celebrity chef Paula Deen’s decision to become a pitchwoman for a diabetes drug is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Madison Avenue branding experts.

Ms. Deen, a Food Network star known for her fat-laden recipes, disclosed on Tuesday that she has had Type 2 diabetes for about three years and that she has signed on to be the spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk AS, which makes diabetes drugs such as Victoza.

Obesity increases people’s risk for Type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Novo Nordisk is launching a new marketing campaign featuring Ms. Dean to show off healthy recipes. For instance, the drug maker’s website provides a recipe for lasagna made with low-fat ingredients including extra-lean ground beef and reduced-fat cheese. It’s a far cry from Ms. Deen’s typical recipes that have included “Deep-Fried Mac and Cheese” and “Fried Butter Balls.”

Ad executives say this switch will confuse consumers. Her brand is all about “rich, tasty and decadent eating” but now she is supposed to be about “eating healthy and low fat,” said Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor New York, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC. “It’s a big change to expect consumers to buy into,” he added.

Many consumers bemoaned and mocked the news on social-media sites such as Twitter. “I think it’s completely gross that Paula Deen made $$$ pushing food that makes you sick and will now make $$$ pushing the medication for it,” read one Tweet.

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Associated PressPaula Deen, a Food Network star known for her fat-laden recipes, disclosed on Tuesday that she has Type 2 diabetes.

A spokeswoman for Novo said it chose Ms. Deen because she “resonates with people” and she has “the power to make a difference.” Her new emphasis on healthy foods could undercut her existing cookbooks “that are all tied to fatty foods,” noted Dean Crutchfield, a branding expert at Caffeine. If it’s going to succeed, Mr. Crutchfield said Ms. Deen is “going to have to change her shows and all the recipes she puts out there.”

A spokeswoman for Ms. Deen said that the chef will be creating lighter alternatives for her recipes and is in discussions with the Food Network to have those recipes incorporated into her show. Still, the spokeswoman added that Ms. Deen will also “stay true to her Grandmama Paul’s Southern cooking, which is part of her heritage.”

Odd alliances aren’t unknown on Madison Avenue. In 2002, B.B. King simultaneously promoted Burger King and diabetes products, including a blood-sugar test kit by LifeScan Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

Write to Suzanne Vranica at suzanne.vranica@wsj.com

Two glasses of wine a day increases your odds of cancer 41%

The most important words in research are validity and relevance. Today’s glass dropping news in the WSJ regarding the voluminous amount of empirical research that is being shown as to how alcohol consumption is directly linked to all forms of cancer – from the throat to the lung through to the bowl:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204528204577009741133297800.html?KEYWORDS=alcohol+research+cancer

This news might seem non eventful, but the repercussions throughout the industry will be immense and intense. The lessons to learn rest with the tobacco industry only this time the process will be swifter and harsher given the sophistication of the anti-smoking lobby’s knowledge and honed approach, dramatically reducing the learning curve.

For the purveyors of alcoholic beverages in the US, let the lobbying begin. And it is a huge category in the US with many tentacles e.g. nearly 200,000 licensed bars that employ thousands of people and without question is the main thrust of the joy for millions: spirits sales are worth over $60bn annually with vodka alone representing just over $10.5bn.

“There’s nothing wrong with drinking on this side of the grave. It stops the sad amongst us from thinking and the e’er valiant, more brave.” Unknown soldier 1915

Now the salvo has been fired, we shall now witness the broadside. Of particular interest is the reaction of Paul Walsh, the enterprising CEO of Diageo who has set a record for being one of the longest standing CEOs of a Top 100 company – having been onboard since 2004. However, he is believed to be taking the top spot at Unilever, which to all intent and purpose was going to be a smooth transition. NOT now.

Let’s see what they feel is their best foot forward. It is likely to not impress us, as it will be taking an offensive posture. Fancy a pint anyone?