Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coca Cola's latest deceit revisited.

I last blogged about this ad in April. I called it, a case study on deceitful marketing that I cut out of my local newspaper.

The ad screams,

"Up-front calorie labeling. Easy any way you look at it"
and goes on to explain,
"the easier it is to find the calories, the easier it is to make the choices that help you and your family achieve a sensible, balanced diet"
Now putting aside the fact that Coca Cola has no place in a sensible balanced diet let's go back to how easy it is to find the calories.

Looking at this helpful new label it would appear that the bottle of Coca Cola has 110 calories. No need to read between the lines.

What it doesn't mention is that while there might not be a need to read between the lines, there's a need to read below the lines and then follow that up with some long division and multiplication.

If you look just below the large fonted 110 you might notice the small fonted calories/250ml qualifier.

The bottle is 591mL.

591mL/250mL * 110 calories = 260 calories.

Coca Cola folks, when you read this - 260 calories in big type on your 591mL bottle would be up-front labeling. especially given that's how you label it in stores. 110 calories in big type on a 591mL bottle with small print below stating /250mL? That's still just slimy marketing.

Of course with this latest reiteration of the campaign, (which from what I can gather, is a huge one) Coca-Cola's coupled deceit with misdirection in that the original ad now has a friend - a co-branded Coca-Cola/ParticipACTION ad that talk about how Coca-Cola cares about health and their desire to make "Playtime our National Pastime",

And while that sounds lovely I can't help but imagine that Coca-Cola's true goal is that by making us feel like Coca-Cola is part of the solution that somehow we minimize the fact that drinking sugar water contributes to weight gain, and that inactivity, not the consumption of their empty calories, is what's responsible for childhood obesity.

After all, it's all about "balanced, active lifestyles", isn't it?

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  1. and he kicks it through the goal posts ***score***

  2. Usually when people see this visual, they make a choice to move away from sugar-sweetened beverages ...

    Interestingly, I have found sparkling water to be a great alternative to soda ... - no sugar, no calories!

  3. I saw this at the grocery store yesterday. My first reaction was looking at the 110 from across the isle and thinking, "what the...that's not right is it? I thought it was more for some reason". I didn't care to go investigate further, but I am sadly unsurprised to read this blog post. I am sad that these shenanigans continue. Yes, there is alot wrong with that advertising. "Easy any way you look at it". No, not really. The advertising leaves unanswered questions to the average person. Assuming one would notice the calorie estimate for 150ml vs. the actual amount of coke in the bottle, one might ask, "Why is the calorie estimate only for 150mL? Is that how much I'm recommended to drink in a day? Who opens a bottle of coke, drinks some, then puts the rest away? It goes flat if you do that." The "balanced diet" thing is also confusing on a coke ad. Balanced diets contain a good balance of different types of foods. Coke is not food. As for their Participaction affiliation, water would help them run alot faster than the dehydration coke would provide. Yoni, I know you wanted calories posted on the front of package. Looks like we're getting trolled by coke.

  4. Paulette11:56 am

    The issue here is not simply that of lack of guidance. There are very clear rules for manufacturers making a nutrient content claim (which this is). Not only must the serving size be stated, but that serving size must also be the same size and prominence as the claim.
    For this example, the serving size stated must be adjacent to the (most prominent) claim and be of the same size and prominence.
    Even the serving size is based on a regulated reference amount, which for beverages is usually 250 ml.
    This is a non-compliance issue.

  5. Anonymous2:28 pm

    On a side note...I am from Greece with many relatives abroad(UK and the US) and I've always found that coke drinking habit tragic to say the least.How some people can have a whole BOTTLE of this stuff for a breakfast drink has always boggled my mind(same with these coffies that are the equivalent of a piece of chocolate cake)

    Aside from that,I always read below,between,and above the lines when it came to calories because it always mattered to me...the calories in some food depend on the quantity of it you're going to consume too...

    But I perfectly understand how this can be misleading for most people,since I see that most people are too quick and lazy about reading.And of course corporations know this.

  6. That is shocking, it is so clearly trying to suggest that it has less calories than it does.

  7. Sad that ParticipACTION is involved with this. Time to bring back Hal and Joanne.

  8. Yep, people sure are lazy. Not that we don't have a bazillion other things to worry about in our lives, like our families and careers. Not that that there are a million other things in life to stuff our heads so full of knowledge and stress that we start to forget simple things like our phone numbers and even our own age. Shame on us for missing that insinuated mathematical equation on our food packages.

  9. Sadly, these ads are in the latest edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal which also included an editorial taking the government to task for backing off on more aggressive cigarette labeling. Seems a little hypocritical to me to call out government for backing down against big tobacco yet here's our own medical association running ads for obesigenic big food. As a Canadian pediatrician, I am writing a letter to voice my displeasure and encourage other Canadian physicians to do the same.