Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coca-Cola states Coke is "Wholesome and Suitable" for Kids!!?

Readers of my blog may remember some time ago when I blogged about the Coca-Cola advertisement found in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that ridiculously claimed that their ads featuring Santa Claus, animated polar bears, New Kids on the Block and more didn't target children,

"Can't remember the last Coca-Cola ad targeted at children? There's a reason. Parents tell us they prefer to be the ones teaching their children about beverage choices. That's why for over 50 years we've adhered to a company policy that prohibits advertising soft drinks to children."
The thing is, I didn't just blog about it, I also wrote a letter to the editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal which in turn was published this week along with responses from Coca-Cola and the Journal's editors.

The editors rightly report that the advertisement,
"compl(ies) with the pertinent sections of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations"
and therefore is kosher for publication.

Reading between the lines however would suggest that the Journal agreed that the advertisement went too far, not in the context of their editorial response but rather in their print publication of my original letter along with their contact for and publication of Coca-Cola's response.

Coke's response?


They reiterate their claim and then add a minor parenthetic qualification in that,
"(Any programming or media platform for which 50% or more of the audience is under 12 years of age is considered programming primarily directed to children.)"
and then brag that they're founding members of a toothless, voluntary, non-regulated, Big Food sponsored campaign that voluntarily submits advertisements to Advertising Standards Canada, an organization described on their website as,
"The Canadian advertising industry's self-regulatory body"
Here's my bottom line:
Claiming that Santa Claus and animated polar bears in Coke commercials don't target children is about as believable as claiming that bikini-clad women in beer commercials don't target men.
The story was picked up by Sarah Schmidt of Canwest and will likely hit the newspapers tomorrow and boy did Coca-Cola corporate spokesperson Amy Laski come up with one whopper of a quobesity stating that Coke is,
"wholesome and suitable for kids"
I wonder if Amy serves her kids "wholesome", refreshing Coke?

Good lord.

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  1. My Mom told me that when I was young, mothers in Hawaii, where I lived, put coke in baby bottles. Many toddlers had rotten front teeth.

    People there thought coke is good for kids. It isn't. It certainly will rot teeth.

  2. EricaB11:32 am

    I read your blog quite regularly (thanks to Julie Van Rosendaal) and wanted to say Thank you! I wish I could do more...I am a mother of three ages 7, 3&1/2 and 2 and I am continually floored by the crap marketed at kids as "healthy."

    Not only do parents have to fight slick marketing they also have to fight peer pressure. It's difficult to explain to a seven year old that she can't have "lunchables" that her friends are bringing to school without sounding like a snob. We've taken to showing her the labels and explaining that if she can't read it/pronounce it it's not good for her....

    As for Coke - shame on them, although it probably isn't illegal since "wholesome" is just a buzzword isn't it? Like claiming froot loops is "part of a nutritious breakfast." Sure, but what they don't say is it's the empty calorie-doesn't do anything good part.