By Pat Stacey
Effective marketing is powerful stuff. For 60 plus years, since the advent of television, critics have been able to identify products that are harmful but, due to effective marketing, have been very popular. You probably remember the flack that R-J Reynolds – the tobacco company - received towards the end of cigarette marketing on mass media for their Joe Camel caricatures. Joe Camel, the cartoon symbol for Camel Cigarettes, was eventually pulled from the company's ads. Fast forward 20 years or so and we have Chester Cheetah, the cartoon symbol adorning the packaging for Cheetos cheese snacks. Chester and the Cheetos maker, Frito –Lay, are under fire for marketing the sodium-overlaced cheese snacks to kids. And kids are responding by eating a lot of cheetos. So, does Chester Cheetah need to go the way of Joe Camel? I think not. This is a long drawn out debate over personal responsibility and while Frito –Lay may need to make their individual packages a little smaller, we cannot rely on the government to be our watchdog on every kind of packaging. We already have warning labels and nutritional labels on everything consumable, so at some point, the responsibility rests with the consumer. If you eat too many cheetos along with many other foods, you risk your health. We really don't need the government to help us grasp that – Chester Cheetah is OK.