“If you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight” says Coca-Cola in their first anti-obesity ad campaign. Really?
The campaign, created by Brighthouse and Citizen2, is a new direction for branding in that it seems to tackle a massively negative side effect of their product head on. But is the beverage giant really taking responsibility for selling an unhealthy soda, or are they blaming consumers for drinking too much of it?
“Beating obesity will take action by all of us based on one simple commonsense fact: all calories count, no matter where they come from. Including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories,” states the voiceover.
In the ad, Coca-Cola aims to show that they have created smaller, portion-controlled sizes, with low sugar and zero calorie options. They also proudly state that calorie counts are now displayed on each beverage, so consumers can take their own decisions on how much Coke is a good thing.
But Michael F. Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that this new advertising campaign is just a damage control exercise, and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity. “What the industry is trying to do is forestall sensible policy approaches to reducing sugary drink consumption, including taxes, further exclusion from public facilities, and caps on serving sizes such as the measure proposed by Mayor Bloomberg,” he says.
Creators of The Honest Coca-Cola Obesity Commercial responded to Coke’s ad with their own version of the truth. They use the same images as the original, but the information provided in the voiceover is very different. It lists the real health risks of drinking soda including kidney problems, metabolic syndrome, cell damage, and rotting teeth.
“Imagine if cigarette companies said they were doing something responsible to protect you,” says the new voiceover.
Exactly. Drink water. It’s safest.