Coca-Cola tries to dispel obesity concerns with TV ads

Global Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola have gone to drastic measures to defend themselves against increasing concerns regarding the negative impact that fizzy drinks are having to our health. There is a staggeringly high sugar content in many drinks such as regular Coke, Pepsi, etc., and this is contributing towards tooth decay and the spiralling obesity epidemic occurring both in Britain and also in the U.S.

Interestingly, sales growth within North America over the last 15 years for Coca-Cola has directly emanated from millions of people deciding to go with the no-sugar and no-calorie options such as Coke Zero, clearly showing a huge public worry about the fuller-sugared versions. These diet versions of their soda drinks now comprise of roughly a third of its sales in the U.S. and Canada.

Therefore, to perhaps address the issue of obesity and attempt to alleviate the mounting pressure on the soft drinks industry, Coca-Cola have launched a new advertising campaign on cable television in the U.S. The two minute-long commercials were given their first airing during last night’s ‘The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer’ on CNN, FOX News’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor’, and MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’.

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola, Diana Garza, said: “The audience for this new ad is knowledgeable about the problem but doesn’t necessarily know about what the Coca-Cola Co is doing to address it. We are telling them our story.” She also acknowledged that the company had to try and remain consistent with its brand voice and avoid sounding ‘preachy’.

In the advert shown on Monday night, a female voice was heard stating that Coca-Cola drinks actually have reduced portion sizes in the form of smaller cans, the company are putting their efforts into creating better-tasting, low-calorie sweeteners and has voluntarily made lower-calorie drinks available at schools. Viewers are also provided with a reminder that ‘all calories count no matter where they come from’ and ‘if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight’.

The advertisements are also expected during many other shows tonight too and a separate commercial, explaining about Coke’s front-of-package calorie labels, will be screened for the first time Wednesday during ‘American Idol’ on Fox – who have partnered with Coke for several years.

The second ad is a stark contrast to the first, and could be seen as more traditionally ‘upbeat’ as people would expect from company known for their series of happy Christmas television adverts. It will feature a montage of fun activities that will equate to burning off the ‘140 happy calories’ contained in a can of Coke: dancing, laughing with friends, walking a dog and doing a victory dance after getting a strike during a game of bowling.

However, Coca-Cola claims that their new series of videos have not been created due to mainstream bashing of the soft drink industry, but as a way to ‘raise awareness’.

The campaign follows tough action by news that US government officials are specifically concentrating on high-calorie soft drinks for stricter regulations. In New York, a city where shockingly 58% of people are classed as either overweight or obese, a new law will come into effect from March barring the sale of soft drinks larger than a pint in any cinema, restaurant and stadia.

Unfortunately it seems that not everybody agrees with the real intentions of Coca-Cola’s television campaign. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has long been critical of the soft drinks industry, and he said that the move “looks like a page out of Damage Control 101. They’re trying to disarm the public.” However, Mr Jacobson did not stop there in his scathing assessment and added: “They’re trying to pretend they’re part of the solution instead of part of the problem. If Coke was serious about wanting to be part of the solution, it could stop advertising full-calorie drinks altogether, set up a pricing scheme where full-calorie drinks were more expensive, or stop opposing proposed soda taxes.”

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