(*** Please note, I am posting this under Rachael Guia’s login because of problems with my own.***)
Coca-Cola recently launched a rather strategic anti-obesity marketing campaign under the guise of a PSA. This campaign comes at the helm of much backlash against the soda and sugary beverage industry as the public is quickly becoming more aware of all of the health implications consuming such products has on the human body. In response, Coca-Cola cleverly addresses the issue by explicitly avoiding the issue of the ingredients in its beverages (with the exception of Dasani water); and focuses instead on the more basic issue of caloric intake to obesity rates.
Coca-Cola takes the position that taking in a less daily caloric intake leads to lower incidences of obesity. To help aid this, the campaign tells us that Coca-Cola has created new beverage sizes ranging from a can of Coke that has a mere 90 calories on upward so that every possible consumer type can have a product to choose from. They also strategically mention that they are constantly looking into new and emerging zero-calorie sweeteners to add to their products to further reduce one’s daily caloric intake. Their message is simple: drinking their products will lead to weight loss by the sheer assumption that reducing calories in, takes weight off. By carefully avoiding the controversial issue of the ingredients in their products and stressing their efforts in reducing obesity rates, they give off the perception that they care about everybody’s health and are doing everything in their power to further the cause.
Coca-Cola even takes the proactive stance of advocating an otherwise healthy lifestyle and pairing their reduced calorie drinks with exercise. On the surface, their campaign appears to be an informative and caring message targeted to the general population. To the average viewer, it may also seem as though Coca-Cola is acknowledging and taking responsibility for its less than healthy beverage offerings. However, when you really stop and think about it, their message is quite deceptive to a less sophisticated audience. The ingredients in sugary drinks and soda have been quite topical as of late, especially in light of the recent death of an otherwise healthy young 30-something year old female who died solely of the cause of drinking too much soda everyday. Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on 16-ounce sugary beverages (other than beverages consisting largely of milk) has also brought national attention to his controversial law to fight obesity and improve health. There are also the (also highly controversial) NYC Subway adds that show a rather graphical depiction of what happens inside your body as you drink soda and other sugary drinks. And let’s not forget the findings about what goes into Diet soda and its health effects (and apparent findings that consuming Diet soda actually leads to weight Gain and not loss…). None of this is mentioned in the campaign, of course.
See the commercial here:
CMGT541, Spring 2013, Section B