Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why I'm Absolutely Thrilled Coca-Cola is Addressing Obesity in its Superbowl Ad

It means that they're incredibly desperate.

For a corporation that makes as much money as Coca-Cola does in selling sugar water to admit, however indirectly, that drinking a great deal of sugar water might affect weight, is clearly a Hail Mary pass.

I've blogged before about the writing on the wall for big beverage - but this definitely takes the proverbial cake.

Sadly though, I'd bet it succeeds in its two main aims. Firstly it will further reinforce the erroneous belief that you can out train a bad diet. Secondly it will provide Coca-Cola ammunition with which to fight industry unfriendly legislation by suggesting it's working hard to be part of the solution.

Coca-Cola's job is to sell products. As many as they possibly can. That's it, that's all, and there's nothing wrong with that - it's the way our society is built. The aim of this advertisement is to do just that because soda taxes or policies that restrict sales will be far worse for business than an ad designed to deceive the public into believing that Coca-Cola's part of the solution and that you can out run your glassful of sugar.

Writing's clearly on the wall. Now just a matter of time. We just need to keep up the pressure.

Here's a sneak peak of what might be the thrust of their Superbowl ad, or perhaps ad itself (email subscribers, visit the blog to watch):

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  1. Coca-Cola and McDonalds have been the unofficial whipping boys for the anti-obesity movement...with good reason. They are the giants of an industry that makes billions by selling us "food" that under-nourishes and over-fills.

    Threatening their sales figures was the only way they were ever going to change. It's the same way with the automotive industry and the shift away from gas-powered engines.

    For me, the most exciting thing about Coca-Cola trying to get us to believe that they care about our waistlines is that...as Coca-Cola goes, the rest will follow

  2. Progress ;-) Pat yourself on the back Yoni!

  3. Anonymous8:58 am

    This ad makes me sick. Bring people together? They missed the scene at the doctors office where the family learns that mom or junior have diabetes. Or the happy smiling faces at the dentist office when junior gets his/her first cavity.

  4. Maybe I was drawn in by the emotional nature of the advertisement, but I was happy to see this. A huge, worldwide company investing in educational/motivational programs for healthy living? yes please.

    I don't drink pop (I have D2), haven't for years, and have convinced my husband to stop drinking it too. My kids have never had pop. We do indulge in juice for this kids, on occasion (*gasp* I know...), and there is pop in our rum at Christmas as a treat. Moderation, right?

    My point is this. Is it not better for Coca-Cola to start focusing some of their philanthropy efforts into a cause such as fighting poor diet and non-physical activity, rather than skirting around it? So they get sales because they are appealing to the "cause du jour" or appeasing the folks who lambaste them for all but shoving the pop into our kid's hands.

    The fact that real money will be poured into community programs and outreach endeavours is a step in the right direction. If we can encourage it, The benefits of bringing the message of "move more, eat less, make smarter decisions" will have a better long-term influence than the fizzy treat in the vending machine at the school, IMHO.

    It does not mean we don't have to continue to educate about the empty calories of Coca-Cola and its products, nor should we ignore that pop will still be available for kids to drink instead of water.

    But its a good start.

    Just my two cents ;)

  5. Speaking of, did you happen to catch the Colbert Report on the Vitamin Water lawsuit last night? Hilarious. Check it out: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/422858/january-14-2013/vitaminwater-advertising-lawsuit

  6. Coca Cola cares as much about fighting obesity as NBC does.

  7. I was unable to open that Colbert Report link from my location, but was able to find it here http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/Shows/TheColbertReport?videoPackage=129458 Thanks David Despain!

  8. Anonymous1:21 pm

    The majority of growth in sales by Coca-Cola (and PepsiCo, which also owns TacoBell, KFC, Pizza Hut)has been in the non-carbonated side of their business - energy drinks, water, sports beverages. It may be cynical, but just seems like smart marketing to promote things that help your market segments that are still growing. Traditional 'pop' sales have remained constant for a number of years.

    All things in moderation and I'd be as worried about all the sugar in those juice boxes parents feed their kids thinking they are healthy . . .