coca cola launches obesity awareness ads

coca cola launches obesity awareness ads

Coca Cola began running a 2-minute ad on cable tv this week (titled "coming together"), and will run another spot on American Idol tonight (titled "be ok"), in an effort to promote awareness of, and what the company is doing about, obesity.

From the company's press release:

“We are committed to bring people together tohelp fight obesity,” said Stuart Kronauge, General Manager, Sparkling Beverages, Coca-Cola North America. “This is about the health and happiness of everyone who buys our products and wants great-tasting beverages, choice and information. The Coca-Cola Company has an important role in this fight. Together, with willing partners, we will succeed.”
My first thought as I read the press release:
  • Sure - the company that has been a leading cause of the obesity epidemic, making billions of dollars in profit over the years, is now going to try to capitalize on the media coverage of that same epidemic to make even more money! (yes, I can be a bit cynical about big-business's motives)

Then I watched the commercial (below), and changed my mind:
  • The company never lied to the public about their product; they've listed the calorie count on their products for years. They've been reasonably responsible even while making insane amounts of money (unlike tobacco companies and financial institutions.)
  • It's not the company's job to monitor how much soda each individual consumes.
  • It's not the company's fault products like the Big Gulp, and portion sizes everywhere, have exploded.
  • The company is making a reasonable effort to educate consumers and be part of the solution.
  • The commercial states directly, “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.” (emphasis mine)

I'm on Coke's side on this one; I think it's a good step in the right direction. I hope other food manufacturers and restaurants begin taking the same approach. The obesity trend will only reverse when more people understand the concept and consequences of calorie surplus eating.

Here's the video (with a link below).

What do you think?

-Chris Butterworth