Times Square Renamed Junk Food Square

This Week, Frito Lay is taking over Times Square with a plethora of marketing activities. The New York Times reports:

Frito-Lay plans to spend this week in Times Square with a promotional event featuring a flavor kitchen, which is part of the company’s effort to stimulate sales of its snack brands like Lay’s, SunChips and Tostitos.

The goal of the promotion is to let consumers in on the snack-making process and give them a chance to provide feedback on the kinds of flavors that Frito-Lay uses — and may potentially use — for its products.

The backdrop for the promotion is an effort, dating to 2009, to play up the natural aspects of Frito-Lay products to dispel perceptions of them as unhealthy junk food. Read more..

What? Potato chips are not healthy? That’s a shock!!

What you need to know:

This is so pathetic. In 2010, snack sales for Frito-Lay were flat. So the most creative minds in PR and advertising have come up with an elaborate plan. A plan to boost sales of products by convincing us they are healthy. Unfortunately, these are all products we should consume even less than we do today. Not flat. Not more.

It’s really nice of Frito Lay to be moving 50% of its products to “all natural” by the end of the year. What were they selling us up to now?

And what about the other 50%? Are there any plans to remove artificial colors from the top selling Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor?

And even if all of Frito Lay’s snacks were to move to just 3 natural ingredients, it’s still no reason to consume them in the quantities we do. A small bag of chips or Doritos can easily set you back 300 calories within 3 minutes.

Now don’t get us wrong, a bag of potato chips now and then is a great fun snack. Just don’t shove it down America’s throat telling us it’s good for us.

As to New York’s most strategic branding real estate – In just the last year, Times square has already hosted a Pop-Tarts deli and an M&M’s store. And now this.

Next month in the square – Free gastric bypass procedure. Get your ticket from the Naked Cowboy.

Here’s an idea to the powers that be: How about a farmers market instead?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kenleebow Ken Leebow

    It’s The Main Street Diet … You can find it on your Main Street too … http://www.TheMainStreetDiet.com

  • http://twitter.com/Amy_Rey Amy Reynaldo

    I noticed that a recent TV commercial touting Frito-Lay’s “all natural” chips had only Fritos, Sun Chips, and potato chips. I think they’re hoping the “natural” label will rub off onto Doritos and Cheetos, both of which are packed with artificial colors, MSG, and other unnatural ingredients.

    • Brenda T.

      There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on March 24th that talked about Frito-Lay’s efforts to make more of their products with “all natural” ingredients. In it they said they would not be applying that to Doritos and Cheetos (the article referenced the reasons). At least they are up front about that.

  • http://www.chefmike.ca Mike

    I’ve said before and I will say it again…as long as there is a market for this garbage, someone will always supply, just like drugs. As long as you let your elected officials both protect and be lobbied by “Big Food”, there will never be improvement. You keep elected them who you do, so you get what you get…

  • Gerome

    I’m a little disappointed by this kind of reporting and certainly by “Mike” who seems to suggest our congress should regulate potato chips. (Really Mike, really?) First, let’s all agree that what F-L sells should be used by the consumer responsibly. I think everyone knows they can’t just gobble down chips.

    Now, some facts. F-L begain reformulating well before 2010 with the goal of improving the nutritional profile of the product line. And they have made quite a few of their snack food “more nutritious” or, if you prefer “less harmful”. (I don’t want to get swamped with language – but can we agree that reducing saturated fat is BETTER than keeping it at the old levels? Can we?) F-L dares to promote the fact that their chips have changed. Plenty of competitors have not done anything at all and are hiding below the radar.

    What would be a better article about chips? How about a black and white comparison between similar snack foods from competing companies? See which company is doing the best at reformulating and who is doing the worst. Then, go right ahead and hurl a brick at the worst offenders.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I almost never ever eat chips from anyone. But just because one company is willing to put the bullseye on their back in Times Square, it does not mean we should lose our objectivity. People want chips. They’re a legal product. And frankly, a heck of a lot safer to consume than many many products. And if you do compare F-L to other chips, you might decide that your indignation is misplaced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cactuswren Susan Cactuswren

    Natural Doritos.

    Vertical horizon.

    Lead balloon.

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    Haha it’s just crazy, I don’t know why people even bother. just bloody enjoy what you eat and shut up!