Coca-Cola Breaks Advertising Taboo

Coca-Cola’s advertising has previously not addressed the company’s image problems but rather combined the beverage with joyful moments. Now, for the first time in history, Coca -Cola’s commercials will refer to the problem of obesity.

Coca-Cola has bought TV advertising time in America’s most popular programs broadcast by CNN, Fox News and MSNBC for the new campaign. According to the Associated Press, the new goal is to start a debate on the impact carbonated beverages have on health.

How wise are New Yorkers ?

Recently, carbonated drinks have been increasingly identified as one of the main causes of obesity in Americans. Last September, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned soda sales in cinemas, restaurants and sports arenas in portions larger than 16 ounces. During the press conference, he explained the decision saying that obesity-related diseases cost the city $4 billion per year. Other U.S. cities are considering similar measures.

Coca-Cola has opposed the ban. “The people of New York City are much smarter than the Department of Health believes,” company representatives wrote in a letter sent to U.S. editors. “We are transparent with our consumers. They can see exactly how many calories are in every beverage we serve. We have prominently placed calorie counts on the front of our bottles and cans and in New York City… New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase.”

Now, however, Coca-Cola admits that Americans often do not know how many calories are actually in their drink. Spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante says that company research shows that clients often think that the canned drink is up to 900 calories, when in fact it is 140.

123 calories of positive energy

What shall we see in the advertisements broadcast in the United States? In one it is stated that during the last few years Coca-Cola has sold more beverages with reduced calories, and weight problems are the result of eating a large amount of calories in any food, not just sodas.

Another ad, which was broadcast in Brazil, presented activities allowing one to burn 123 calories, the number of calories in a small bottle of Coca-Cola. These “calories of positive energy,” as they are called in the ad, can be reduced by laughing with friends, dancing or walking the dog. In this way, the company’s new image was combined with the previous one, associating the beverage with the joy of life. The new commercial is to be broadcast primarily during football matches .

Garza Ciarlante said that the campaign was not created in response to any criticism directed at the drink, and the company just felt it was time to face the challenges of our times. “We have not done enough, and shown enough consistency in telling our story,” she explained. She added that Coca-Cola is doing a lot to make their clients aware of how many calories there are in the beverages. Last year, the information was put on drinks dispensers in the U.S., although the law will not require it until 2014.

In the U.S., for more than 15 years the increased sale of beverages has been mainly caused by low- and no-calorie drinks such as Coke Zero. Currently, they account for one third of the company’s sales in the United States. However, according to the Beverage Digest analysts, despite the growing popularity of diet versions of drinks, the total sale of carbonated drinks in the U.S. has been declining since 1998.

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