Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Irony Defined

Irony Defined
Originally uploaded by littledevilworks.
Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.


Sweet deal: What’s the skinny on Nestle-Jenny Craig partnership?

If this is some kind of cosmic joke, it’s a cruel one: Nestle, the humonglobal chocolate pusher, is buying Jenny Craig, the giant chocolate pusher-awayer. And just in time for bathing suit season, too.

Looks like yet another reason to boycott Nestle (even if you don’t give a hoot about its baby-formula-in-the-Third-World tactics).

Allegedly, one of the perks of living in these United States is being protected by antitrust and consumer laws - so how come there’s nothing to counter this kind of chubby-fox-watching-the-henhouse conflict?

Isn’t this like Smirnoff buying the Betty Ford Center?

I put the question to Ezra Field, managing director for ACI capital, part of the private equity group that sold Jenny Craig for $600 million, and after the kind of polite laugh I imagine they teach at MBA school, he got down to business. ‘‘I’ll give you my personal take, but I don’t speak for Nestle,” he began, raising my hopes that he was going to drop the corporatespeak and spill the beans on plans to waft the scent of Toll House chocolate chip cookies through Jenny Craig centers.

Hello, repeat offenders.

No such luck. ‘‘It’s not really fair to think of good and bad foods,” he said. (Unfair to whom? Willy Wonka?) ‘‘The real message of Jenny Craig is to learn how to make good choices” about the foods you eat.Eaten in ‘‘moderation,” he added, chocolate can be part of a healthy diet.

Clearly, this is a man who does not consider an entire 12-ounce bag of Nestle’s Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels as ‘‘one serving.”

‘‘Actually,” said Laurie MacDonald, not only vice president of corporate and brand affairs but a registered dietician, ‘‘it might surprise you to know that Nestle is a nutrition company.”

She was right, I was surprised.

She prattled on about the infant formula and Carnation instant breakfast and the Powerbar brand Nestle sells, but all I could think about was how long it will be until the paparazzi get a good shot of Jenny Craig spokesannoyance Kirstie Alley shoveling Nestle Crunch bars while hunched down in the driver’s seat of her car.

‘‘Have you called Jenny yet? When you do, ask her to send over some more Butterfingers.”


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