In an open letter that will be published in Variety on Monday, several health advocacy groups write to Katy Perry urging her to stop making commercials for Pepsi. “Today soda companies are using you and other celebrities to convince young people that drinking soda is hip, sexy and rebellious.” the letter says.
One of the groups who signed letter, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, was also an advocate supporting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiative to tax large sugary drinks.
Other groups who signed the letter are the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Berkley Media Studies Group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and The California Endowment.
A representative for CSPI confirmed to BuzzFeed the authenticity of the letter.
The letter tells Katy Perry that she is teaching kids that if they drink Pepsi they can “be cool like Katy Perry” and they should “‘Live for now’ — and worry about the health consequences later.”
It goes on to remind her of her popularity with “teens and tweens” and urges her not to corrupt them by selling them soda.
“Don’t exploit that popularity by marketing a product that causes disease in your fans,” the letter says.
Dear Queen Katy Perry,
We, the undersigned public health organizations, write to you today to urge you not to market Pepsi to your young fans.
One out of every three American children and teens is overweight or obese — the science shows that drinking too much Pepsi, Coke, and other sugar drinks is a major cause of that. Each additional sugar drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese by about 60 percent. Sugar drinks also increase the risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Virginia Slims and other tobacco brands used glamorous celebrities and models to position smoking as hip, sexy, and rebellious. Today soda companies are using you and other celebrities to convince young people that drinking soda is hip, sexy, and rebellious. That’s certainly the case with Pepsi’s promotions in connection with your concert and forthcoming album. ‘Drink Pepsi and you can be cool like Katy Perry’ is the takeaway message for your young fans. ‘Live for now’ — and worry about the health consequences later.
Kids love you, Katy Perry. You count many millions of teens and tweens among your “KatyKats.” Their devotion to you has brought you incredible commercial success and wealth. But being popular among children brings with it an enormous responsibility. Don’t exploit that popularity by marketing a product that causes disease in your fans.
Center for Science in the Public Interest
California Center for Public Health Advocacy
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
Berkeley Media Studies Group
The California Endowment