As the media awaits Lance Armstrong’s taped interview with Oprah Winfrey (airing Thursday on her OWN network), where it’s expected that Armstrong will admit to using performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong’s charity, Livestrong — one of the largest cancer charities in the U.S. — hangs in the balance. This New York Times examination of Livestrong explores the degree to which the charity, Armstrong’s business interests and those of his associates have long been intertwined, and how the charity is faring as a result of the doping scandal. The Times reports that the foundation has already lost financial support as many corporate sponsors have scaled back or ended their donations. The article quotes Livestrong’s executive director, Doug Ulman, saying that despite the hits that the foundation is taking, he expects donors to remain loyal to the brand. “In the long run, I think the organization is going to be incredibly strong because the cause is so important,” he says. But if the writers of “South Park” have their fingers on the pulse, their depiction of the town’s residents lined up at a pharmacy to have their yellow Livestrong wristbands safely removed may be more telling.
McDonald’s restaurants in the U.K. are going to start replacing toys in their Happy Meals with — get this — books. As part of McDonald’s “Happy Readers” promotion, the kids’ meals will now have non-fiction books from DK Books' "Amazing World" series with titles like Stars and Planets, Big Cats, and Oceans. Megan Garber at Quartz reports that McDonald's expects to distribute 15 million books over the course of its initiative, between now and 2014. This means that it will become the biggest distributor of children's books in the entire United Kingdom.
Musician and Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, aka 37-year-old William Adams, has become the go-to guy for ideas at companies as diverse as Intel (he has a badge for access to its Santa Clara, California, headquarters) and Coca Cola. At Coca Cola, he helped invent the Ekocycle initiative (note "Coke" spelled backward in there) to promote use of recycled products by tagging items such as headphones and phone cases with the number of plastic beverage bottles used in their manufacture. — Andy O’Connell