Co-opting editorial space

Selling outDear Independent:
May I inquire how much you charge to run a fast food advertisement on the front cover of your publication? Apparently it was for a story about a corporate mascot who gets lots of press for appearing not to be an advertisement. Sort of Tony the Tiger for the Napoleon Dynamite set, but fascinating to you I guess.

The article inside was pure PR. Senator Barack Obama apparently “loves Subway’s new toasted subs.” (And now with my letter, I’m perpetuating it. Enough!)

You didn’t mention that the rising Subway sales attributable to their affable spokesman were not for the leaner sandwiches on the menu. Most customers keep ordering the unhealthy items. You’d probably like to laud McDs for promoting salads even thought they’re really just selling more French fries.

The point of your article escaped me, is Subways (owned by the scurrilously named Doctor’s Associates Inc) offering a million dollar contract to every obese person who can keep his weight down by eating from the paltry lower-fat portion of their otherwise fat-food selection? That would be quite a story, and maybe it would prove effective for more than Mr. Fogle!

As to your pieces of silver, I’m hoping on the one hand that product placement on your cover doesn’t cost too much. There are certainly some authentic health food stores and restaurants who could really benefit from attention like that. And as a result, so would the public.

On the other hand, I hope you made made thousands for having compromised your principles. Now when you behold a fatter, sadder America, you’ll know you played a part.

Reprinted in The Independent

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