Doctors and fitness experts have long espoused the benefits of an active lifestyle. But, as the statistics bear out, Americans have not only turned a deaf ear to the warnings, the number of obese, sedentary slugs has only grown.
Now comes a new study that shows more than 90,000 new cancer cases a year may be due to physical inactivity and prolonged periods of sitting. The American Institute for Cancer Research cites some 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer. That's enough people to fill the Rose Bowl!
The anti-sedentary news can't be good news for marketers who enable such inactivity. How should Barcalounger, for example, respond? Do they take the route of Big Tobacco and deny, deny, deny?
– “The AICR study adds nothing new to the dialogue. We remain committed to providing the softest, most comfortable lounging experience possible for inert Americans.”
Or, do they go on the offensive and launch an attack ad against fitness and wellness?
– “Who needs activity? Even triathletes die sooner or later. Kick back and ease your way through a shortened lifespan with our new, extra padded Barcalounger Deluxe (which comes equipped with fold-away trays, a built-in fridge AND airtight storage areas for those double cheeseburgers and fries you want to keep super fresh for the second half kick-off!).”
I've often wondered how I'd handle an offer to represent a product that either causes illness (i.e. tobacco) or enables obesity and inactivity (i.e. lounge chairs). The latter is obviously a no-brainer since it can be positioned as a lifestyle accessory for the active or inactive consumer.
But, representing Big Tobacco or the National Rifle Association would present a huge ethical problem for this blogger. I simply don't buy into the logic of PR firms who say they represent these merchants of death because “…every business deserves a right to tell its side of the story.” And, I also don't buy into the NRA's rant about Second Amendment rights and their mantra that 'Guns don't kill people. People kill people.' Yeah, sure. And, a Big Mac with cheese doesn't harden the arteries either. That's caused by an individual's DNA. Not.
In any event, I'll be interested in reading how, if at all, the enablers respond to the new statistics about the dangers of a sedentary life and sitting for a prolonged period of time. As for me, I've never been able to sit still, so the whole thing is a non-issue. As a matter of fact, I think I'll head to the gym right now.