Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kudos to Coca-Cola. No, Really.

The applause definitely need not be big, but Coca-Cola is actually doing something I can applaud them for, or more accurately, they're not doing something that I can applaud them for.

Yesterday in Canada, Coca-Cola announced that they're reducing the calories in their flagship Coca-Cola beverage by 8% (given all calories in Coca-Cola come from sugar that also means a sugar reduction of 8%), and the article where I read about all of this also notes that in the near future they will be replacing their ubiquitous 20oz bottles with 16.9oz bottles. All told that means that people accustomed to drinking from 20oz bottles of Coca-Cola, if they don't up their consumption levels as a consequence, will see their Coca-Cola calories and sugar fall by 20%.

Now don't misread me, drinking Coca-Cola, even with 8% less sugar, isn't in your health's best interest, and given 8% less of a very large number is still a large number, the kudos aren't for the reformulations. The kudos are for the fact that, at least according to the article, Coca-Cola isn't going to launch a marketing campaign touting their now ever so slightly calorie and sugar reduced soda. Frankly, that surprises me some, as having packaging shouting, "now with less sugar", or, "lower calories than ever before", along with a concomitant TV and print ad, "we care about your health therefore we decided to....." campaign might well have led consumers to purchase more of the stuff, and/or consequent to the health halo effect of suggesting there was an improvement, have lead to greater per person frequency and/or amounts of consumption - and greater sales.

But they're not doing that.

Sure, these changes are likely being made in order to save money (especially the reduction in bottle size which I would be flabbergasted were it to be accompanied by a cost reduction), and no doubt they'll still bundle reports of these changes into their efforts at forestalling regulations that would negatively impact sales by using them to suggest that they're working hard to try to help, but truly, if they don't advertise them, it just means that regular users will be consuming ever so slightly less of the awful stuff and they won't even know it.

So truly, teeny-tiny kudos to you Coca-Cola Canada, but forgive me if my toast is with water.

(and as you might imagine, should there be a marketing campaign or a packaging change that suggests this newer, ever so slightly less awful Coca-Cola is somehow improved or better for you, I'll be loudly retracting my kudos in a follow up blog post)