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Food news of the weird: Christina Aguilera helps end world hunger, unlimited Slurpees for kids and un-branding Starbucks

July 16, 2009 |  3:35 pm

Aguilera A few items crossed my desk this morning that made me laugh and sigh at once.

The first was an announcement that Christina Aguilera is the new global spokesperson for Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief campaign. Yum! Brands, in case you're not up on your fast-food speak, is the hairy, one-eyed monster behind KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and more. Given the fact that Yum! Brands is arguably partly responsible for a fair amount of obesity both in America and abroad, it smacks of opportunism (and weirdness) for it to sponsor a world hunger relief campaign. It's kind of like Camel cigarettes sponsoring a Healthy Lung festival. On another note, is a needle-thin diva who looks as if she hasn't eaten more than cotton puffs for weeks on end really the best choice of spokesperson?

Next up we have a news release stating that 7-Eleven presented a 9-year-old boy from Orange County with a year's supply of free Slurpees and a certificate of heroism for "having saved the life of a drowning toddler on June 20 near his home in Garden Grove, Calif." According to an Orange County Register story, two of the boy's favorite things are Slurpees and his dream of becoming a cop. That's really cute and all, but note to 7-Eleven, giving a year's supply of what essentially amounts to a cup of high fructose corn syrup to a 9-year-old child is just bad form.

Finally, I bring you word of what is perhaps my favorite weird news story of the day, courtesy of the Seattle Times via Consumerist. Apparently, faced with growing public dislike and plenty of recession-friendly coffee options, like the ones being pushed by McDonald's, Starbucks is working to un-brand itself. The story talks about how the mega-corporation has been sending reps into mom-and-pop coffee shops to see what they are like and how they operate. The reps have been spotted carrying folders with "Observation" written on them. In what is perhaps the most glorious part of the story, Starbucks is reportedly considering changing the names of its shops to " 'community names' like 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, in Seattle." Maybe this will catch on, and chains across America will begin stealth mom-and-pop shop campaigns. McDonald's could open a shop in Tucson and call it Big Jim's Saguaro Burger. The possibilities are endless.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Christina Aguilera, global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief, watches as a young girl participates in a public service announcement by making a donation, Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles. Credit: AP Photo / Yum! Brands