|This Let's Move! placard will appear in every US Subway store|
Washington, DC - Subway's three-year pledge to support First Lady Michelle Obama's child obesity campaign by creating a $41 million advertising campaign to market fruits and vegetables to kids has some customers choking on their foot-long sandwiches. A thread on Subway's Facebook page is filled with outraged comments, reports Eater.com, with more than 3,100 people weighing in as of today.
|At Subway with Michael Phelps & kids|
"I'll eat a bowl of my own vomit before I'll eat another Subway sandwich," wrote user Robert Collins.
"Won't be supporting any business that wants to further the government's control over our food choices," wrote user Carrie Loves Jesus. "This administration has done enough to destroy this country and take away our freedoms. Sorry but I will no longer be eating at subway..."
Part of the Facebook furor is over the signs that will be posted in every one of Subway's more than 25,000 US stores, which will feature the slogan "Playtime Powered By Veggies" with the logo for Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the independent foundation that supports Let's Move! and orchestrated the deal (Mrs. Obama is honorary chair). The logo is almost identical to the Let's Move! logo, and many Facebook users seem to be under the impression that photos of Mrs. Obama will be in Subway stores, too.
"41 Million to plaster Michelle's face all over your resturant? How many sandwiches would that buy for kids OR SENIORS that don't get enough to eat? And you go with this instead? Quiznos, here I come," wrote (sic) user Ricci Moore.
The new campaign officially launches on February 1st with Subway spokesman/icon Jared Fogle, the fellow who lost 245 pounds eating the sandwiches, appearing in the first round of ads, NOT the First Lady.
"Congrats subway you just lost me as a customer for ever," wrote user John Classified.
"Neither I nor anyone in my family will eat at any Subway so long as you have affiliated yourself with this abomination .. if you want to encourage children to make better food choices then do so without this hypocritical idiot being your spokesperson!!" wrote user Robert Martin.
"You have lost my business for the rest of my life. This political and stupid move will cost millions. Have you not paid attention to Cracker Barrel and their stupid move?" wrote user Thomas Warren, referencing the Duck Dynasty controversy.
The First Lady and Subway also have Facebook users defending the project, too, though an unscientific analysis of the comments indicates that the outraged critics seem to be outweighing those applauding the deal.
"Interesting reactions by angry weird people. I suddenly have the desire for a Subway sandwich! I really like what the First Lady is doing to help improve American's food choices. Good for Subway to partner with her!" wrote user Connie Tolleson.
"Great partnership…thank you for joining with our amazing First Lady in helping Americans become more healthy!" wrote user Karen Teegarden.
"Striving to make our next generation stronger, healthier, smarter -- will always stir up the enemies of America. Don't lose any sleep over them. More power to you, Subway!" wrote user Val Collins.
"GOOD for YOU SUBWAY!!!!!!! I have been reading some of the hate comments and don't give them any thought..." wrote user Rich Roberts.
"Thank you, Subway, for trying to help the children in our country live a healthier life. If there are people who oppose that, well let them eat greasy, unhealthy food from some other chain," wrote user Patti Kirk.
Subway is the first restaurant chain in the "quick service" category to make a major commitment to Let's Move!. Mrs. Obama's massive national campaign is anchored by her private-sector partnerships (there are now more than 65 separate commitments), and she routinely faces and typically ignores criticism, with formal responses to such attacks a rarity.
Walmart's five-year commitment to Let's Move!, announced in 2011, has inspired the most controversy for reasons ranging from the low wages paid to non-union employees, to the fact that the company has been accused of criminal activity in its foreign operations, to the fact that its pledge to build smaller markets in areas defined as "food deserts" appears to be merely an opportunistic piggybacking with Let's Move! for an already-planned expansion of its empire.
The Let's Move! partnership with Darden Restaurants, Inc., parent to Olive Garden and Red Lobster, got plenty of criticism when first announced in 2011, too, as French fries were replaced by vegetables as the "default" side for kids' meals, and soda was replaced by water and non-fat milk, among other initiatives.
In 2010, Glenn Beck, at the time a Fox News commentator, predicted, completely seriously, that the Let's Move! campaign would cause global riots over French fries, which he dubbed "Friots." There has yet to be a Friot.
Mrs. Obama celebrates the fourth anniversary of the launch of Let's Move! on February 9.
CLICK HERE for links to all Let's Move! posts.
*Subway graphic via Partnership for a Healthier America