In 1983, Steve Jobs tried to recruit John Sculley, President of PepsiCo, to jump ship and join the Apple Train instead.
He offered the famous clincher:
“Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”
I would have been more forthright:
“Do you want to sell poison to children? Or do you want to exploit Chinese workers instead?”
I always wondered how people like Sculley justify to themselves their worth/value as a human being when essentially selling a product with no redeeming value AND the potential to ruin people’s health.
One time in grad school in a marketing class, a Donut King of the East Coast (forgot his name) spoke to our class about his “real world experience.” (That was the name of the “bring in a real businessman to teach these neophytes” program at my school.)
I couldn’t buy in to anything the guy said. I had no interest in his “business acumen” because I couldn’t get past the fact he sold deep-fried sugar-coated gut bombs for a living.
I didn’t care how much money the guy made. At the end of the day, he was selling bad health.
I thought the same thing last week when I read an interview in USA Today with Katie Bayne, North America President of Coca-Cola.
This interview was in response to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to outlaw jumbo sugary drinks sold in New York City’s establishments. Mayor Bloomberg sees his plan as a way to combat obesity in his dominion.
I like where Bloomberg is coming from. But this action would only scratch the surface of the obesity/health problems Americans suffer due to a sugar-heavy diet.
If I were Emperor of the Universe, I’d outlaw ALL sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. The ruinous effects on the body are numerous. There is no such thing as “healthy sugar intake.” (Cookies and ice cream would be exempt!)
So how does Katie Bayne—the bane of common sense, scientific knowledge, and veracity—skirt this issue? With a straight face and corporate speak so thick it makes a smoke screen look transparent.
Honestly, I could not believe what I was reading. Ms. Bayne—the bane of business ethics—spun the ‘sugar is hunky dory’ sales pitch with such obfuscation I’m sure presidential candidates are clamoring for her services.
Or maybe Ms. Bayne—the bane of real talk for real people—already had that job—perhaps the mastermind behind: “Depends on what the definition of ‘ is’ is.”
OR: “PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”
OR: “Change you can believe in like implementing the NDAA so that, look!, any American can be arrested and moreover held indefinitely without trial.”
In the second question of the interview, Katie—the bane of real scientists and nutritionists—Bayne is asked about the “merits” of sugary drinks. She replies: “Sugary drinks can be a part of any diet as long as your calories in balance the calories out.” And later: “A calorie is a calorie.”
If you expended 2,000 calories a day in your daily lifestyle—and then balanced this expenditure with an intake of 2,000 calories of Coke—anyone with an ounce of sense would know this is a recipe for an early demise.
The idiocy of Ms. Bayne continues. She states that she “doesn’t believe in empty calories.” Gee, that’s nice. But it doesn’t make it true. Sugar calories have no nutritional value.
In addition, the phosphoric acid in all carbonated beverages interferes with the uptake of minerals in the body, depriving the body of essential nutrients needed to function on all cylinders.
Similarly Ms. Bayne responds to a question about sugar working on the brain like an addictive substance: “There is no scientific evidence.”
Again, unequivocally false. (How does a woman get to be president of the division of a Fortune 500 company and not know how to google?)
The worst line for me was: “What our drinks offer is hydration.”
What a load of crap. I would be seriously embarrassed to have said that. You’re selling BAD HEALTH—not hydration. Geez, ever hear of water?
What does it take to get a businesswoman to say stupid stuff in a national publication? What does it take to blatantly lie to the American public? To stain one’s professional reputation?
Is it the greed of a big paycheck? The ego boost of being a company president? The selfishness in watching out for Number Uno instead of humanity in general?
Or a total lack of integrity and social responsibility?
According to dictionary.com, ‘bane’ is a noun meaning:
1. a person or thing that ruins or spoils;
2. a deadly poison (often used in combination, as in the names of poisonous plants);
3. death; destruction; ruin.
4. that which causes death or destroys life.
Me thinks Ms. Bayne is aptly named.
To Ms. Bayne – If you keep imbibing the amount of Coke and Coke products that you do, you will have more metabolic and health problems that just lying through rotten teeth.
And you feed that stuff to your kids? Disgusting.
And whatever happened to John Sculley?
He took the job at Apple. Good move. He orchestrated the ouster of Steve Jobs. Bad Move. He couldn’t manage Apple and was given the boot by the Board of Directors. Karmic justice for years of selling crappy health in a can?