Paula Deen, the "queen" of Southern, high fat, high calorie cooking, confirmed today that she indeed has type 2 diabetes. What does this mean for her brand? Well one thing's for sure, Anthony Bourdain's claim that Paula Deen is "the worst, most dangerous person in America" might become more common when you see her and/or her products on screen.
According to an ABC news report, we shouldn't be surprised that Paula Deen has diabetes – "The more FAT you consume, the more weight you gain. And gradually your pancreas works overtime and you develop diabetes." My prediction is that her products (like the "Butter and Bacon Flavored" green beans pictured here) won't be flying off the shelves, but rather yanked due to lack of sales. Her different bakeware and eyewear (weird, but on sale at Wal-Mart) may be fine. But Paula Deen's name may do for her food items what the Surgeon Generals Warning did to cigarettes – dramatically decrease the appeal of the product they appear on. Nobody wants to eat something that requires medication as the appetizer.
Paula Dean DOES have the opportunity to turn her HEALTH and BRAND around. Here's my advice:
ADMIT that you have a problem.
START preaching moderation.
REPOSITION the Paula Deen show, brand and products into healthy alternatives to Southern food.
The key here is repositioning. Brands do it all the time. Paula you better get started and we hope you have a healthy future.