Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kerry Armstrong, Coca Cola, sugar and caffeine, and Frank Thring is the real thing

It's rare that we welcome actors to loon pond, since by definition acting generates a legendary capacity for all kinds of loonacy (come back from wherever you are in the afterlife, Frank Thring, we miss you).

There's something about pretending to be somebody else as a job which creates all kinds of mental problems, compounded when actors get it into their heads that they're stars and are paid exorbitant amounts to kick around third A.D.s on set (or throw telephones at menials in hotels).

But loon pond has a special corner reserved for Kerry Armstrong, who was always cruising for a bruising when she agreed to be a spruiker for Coca Cola .

Admittedly she had a precedent with all the jocks who line up to spruik for products like Nutri Grain, supposedly and allegedly iron man food, if you don't mind your iron man food coming with a hearty dose of sugar and salt. Served with a half cup of skim milk, a 100 grams serving of Nutri Grain delivers 32 grams of sugar to the belly, along with 600 mgs of sodium, and a nice bloatware factor of 69.4 grams of carbohydrate. Flabby belly food indeed.

Now it's hard to work out exactly what planet loon Armstrong flew in from to do her set of advertisements for Coca Cola, but clearly she didn't do any research before she mouthed her lines. No, she just took the money and ran.

Now the wretched ad campaign has come home to roost with the ACCC dumping all over it, and the best Armstrong can mutter is - according to The Age in Actor Armstrong breaks silence over misleading Coca-Cola ads the following Greta Garbo guff, along the lines of I vant to be a lawn:

The campaign that I did has passed and gone and I haven't made any comment yet - nor am I going to - because there were things that happened that were out of my control as well.

Such as? Spruiking the product or dragging in your children with the line 'my boys now call me mum, the myth-buster!'

The myths the super actress was supposedly busting included the notion that a drink largely made up of sugar and water, and with a healthy dose of caffeine, was somehow excellent for your health -  it did not help make children fat, didn't have any impact on dental health, and wasn't packed with large amounts of caffeine.

Sure, and cigarettes aren't addictive, and tobacco companies never aim their products at kids.

If you have a can of Coke, be prepared to walk for a half an hour to burn off the 160 calories you've swallowed. It's high in refined carb sugars and high on the Glycemic Index. A can will deliver eight teaspoons of sugar. A 500 ml bottle of Coca Cola will deliver you 10 and a half teaspoons of sugar. (source: Choice).

About the only positive thing you can say for it in Australia is that it uses sugar, while in the US, it uses High Fructose Corn Syrup, the fattening food of the devil. I can only mourn the loss of the real coke from the product so long ago, back when it offered a genuine drug for a modest price.

But all this was known, and long before Armstrong became a hustling, shameless spruiker for the product.

It's about time celebrities got a bum rap for being sugar and salt sellers in manufactured products, a pastime which might be financially rewarding but isn't really any more useful to society than selling drugs in the street, or sex in a brothel. 

Come to think of it, a properly run brothel provides a much more useful service for men suffering from Bettina Arndt syndrome.

And Conroy keeps rabbiting on about kiddie porn. The real porn is kids getting fat on products using sugar to get them hooked on the rush, and the media pushers paid handsomely for their work trolling for the kids' pocket money. 

Kiddy safe Ms Armstrong? Myth-buster mum? Out of your control? Sending back the cheque are you, or donating it to charity? 

It's going to be a lot of fun to see the ACCC court-enforceable Coca Cola ads roll out, correcting the advice of the myth-buster mum. What a pity the ACCC didn't require Armstrong to front the ads, and explain just how much money she received from the campaign.

Bah humbug, as Ebenezer used to say. At least the humbugs had a nice peppermint flavor along with the sugar.

Disclosure: I am a recovering Coca Cola addict. It has been one year since my last drink of any kind of Coca Cola product. 

By the way, speaking of Frank Thring, I'm reminded of the story of the time Frank was doing a small part in a student film (late in his career). A young camera assistant was sent to pick him up on his shooting day. When he got to the front door of Frank's house, the door was slightly ajar. At first he didn't want to go in, but he was under pressure to get Frank to set, so he went inside in a ginger way, fearful of a tongue lashing from the great man. 

Once inside, he could hear some noises. He rounded the hallway corner, to find Frank bound hand and foot on the dining room table, with a gag in his mouth. The camera assistant removed the gag, and Frank said to him "Darling I've just had the most fabulous weekend."

We cherish his other line - "Bring me another boy. This one has burst." 

Now there was an honest ham going about his business, a master of pork, and a great screen presence. Vale Frank, from the days when actors were actors ...

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