You are the current U.S. Open Champion and her equally-as-talented sister. People the world over adore you. You’ve made unprecedented strides in both of your athletic careers and at the same time managed to keep your personal lives on an even keel. Kudos all around. So what do you do? If you are Venus & Serena Williams, you become the official spokespeople for Oreos, the cookie that made transfat famous.
I know, I know, before I start with the obligatory pearl clutching and histrionic “think of the children!”s , it is just a cookie. I get that. Nobody ever died of eating one Oreo. I’m sure everyone has a grandfather that licked a pack of double-stufs a day (along with his slab of bacon and pack of cigs) and is still kickin’ it whole-milk style at 98. But in a day and age when the question really should be “Why isn’t everyone obese?” is it really responsible to link a junk food of such notoriety to sports? It’s on par with those ridiculous McDonald’s ads featuring Olympians.
The truth is that those athletes don’t eat that kind of crap. Well, not much of it anyhow if you are interested in staying at the top of your game. An occasional Oreo or other treat won’t kill you but moderation is not the message of this ad:
Besides making next to no sense – Why are the Williams sisters competing against the Manning Brothers? What exactly does being on the “Double Stuf Racing League” mean besides they are bad at spelling? And what do you get if you win – bragging rights in the bulimia ward? It endorses a method of eating that can only be described as, well, icky. Didn’t your mother teach you to eat slowly or you will choke? To death?? In unclean underwear?!?
When asked about their decision, the sisters replied with an unapologetic, “Oreo cookies and milk were a tradition in our house growing up, and my sister and I fondly remember twisting, licking and dunking them together. It was only natural to continue that tradition as adults, which is why we jumped at the chance to be a part of the DSRL.”
Brighter minds than mine have tackled the sports-figure-as-fallible-role-model idea before and come up with either condemnation of the Faustian pact or a devil-may-care shrug but there is a third option: teaching people to eat moderately. Like your mother did. (Or tried to do. I don’t know your mother.)
What do you think? Do I have my tennis undies in a bunch over nothing? Or is there a better way to market junk food and keep the Williams sisters from rotting in the poor house?