Nintendo Wii gets American Heart Assn. logo for $1.5 million donation

I’m not saying, and neither is the American Heart Association that the red check mark heart logo can be bought. Yes, the very same logo that we see on our oatmeal and Cheerios in the supermarket aisle. The very same logo that many of us turn to when faced with decisions on items that appear the same and/or equal but can’t possibly be because the red heart says “buy me, I’m healthy.”  And so, many of us do.

So it is a surprise to many that The American Heart Association has teamed up with Nintendo to put their Heart Healthy logo on a video game. Excuse me, as they stated, it is an “active-video game.”  I agree that the Nintendo Wii and its’ sport and exercise games are not your typical point and shoot video games.  But, Nintendo is paying (excuse me again, “donating”)  one and a half million dollars over a three-year span to the American Heart Association’s cause.

A recent interview with Dr. Clyde Yancy, AHA President was on ABC’s Good Morning America where ABC’s Senior Health Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser said he had real concerns that the AHA might be sending the public a mixed message on video games and health. Besser said that he was concerned that people might in fact, think it is okay to replace cardio exercise with an active-video game and think it is the same. According to GMA statistics for instance, real boxing would give you 200% more of a workout than video boxing.

GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos brought up another point on the same segment, “What if another company comes up with a better video-workout game but the AHA can’t endorse it because it has this exclusive license with Nintendo”?  Stephanopoulis also commented that the “deal” could possibly harm the integrity of the AHA and that it would be hard for the AHA to criticize Nintendo because of the money that has been paid.

These are all valid points of course, but the AHA’s Yancy was so busy calculating every word to his responses he sounded like a robot. When he was first asked how much money the AHA was getting he ignored it alltogether and when on to blab about getting involved in what the people want and the changing landscape of health and exercise and blah, blah, blah.  He was dead serious of course, but I found the whole interview quite comical.

I mean, “donating” one and a half million to a business that practically coined the term “couch potato” and not happening to mention that Nintendo will end up with a huge boost in sales thanks to the AHA logo, is big business at its’ finest. We can all go grab it off the shelf secure in our thinking that the AHA says this is good for our heart?  As good as a bowl of oatmeal?  Or, merely as good as cracked wheat bread?

The sad thing about this is; as we battle with the health care industry about everything under the sun, we now have another portion of the industry  with ties to big business.  I guess we shouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.  As Yancy emphatically stated,  the AHA logo cannot be bought. But I just can’t help thinking, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and …


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