Public awareness of the link between soft drinks and obesity has reached critical mass, and that means trouble for the soft drink industry, which according to Beverage Digest, has been in decline since 1998.
The growth in Coca-Cola’s soda business over the past 15 years has been exclusively derived from low and no-calorie drinks, such as Coke Zero.
“Diet sodas now account for nearly a third of its sales in the U.S. and Canada. Sports drinks and bottled water have also increased sales.”
To mitigate their image problem, Coca-Cola has gone into damage control, and will begin airing two-minute
propaganda ads during the highest-rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. [See Ad]
Coca-Cola hopes to weaken the collective consumer psyche in which weight gain and obesity have been ensconced with an association to soft drinks.
To wit: Mayor Bloomberg’s prohibition on the size of soft drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas and other venues — or Pepsi’s recent acquisition of an endorsement deal with Beyonce, in which critics called for her to drop the contract or donate the funds.
Coca-Cola’s ad boasts of providing drinks with fewer calories over the years and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda.
In the ad, a narrator notes that obesity is an issue that “concerns all of us” but that people can make a difference when they “come together.”
The spot is intended to reflect Coca-Cola’s corporate responsibility [an oxymoron similar to military intelligence] among cable news viewers.
Another ad features a montage of physical activities — walking a dog, dancing, bowling — associated with burning off “140 happy calories” in a can of Coke.
Diana Garza Ciarlante, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola, says the 30-second ad is targeted at consumers who are unclear about the number of calories in soda.
She said the company’s consumer research showed people thought there were as many as 900 calories in a can of soda.
Coca-Cola said its ads aren’t a reaction to negative public sentiment, but rather an attempt to raise awareness about lower-calorie drinks.
The company claims there’s an important conversation going on about obesity, and Coca-Cola wants to be a part of the conversation.
I’ll bet they do. More like reshape and redefine the conversation is my guess.
Coca-Cola wants consumers to believe the company is in the process of atonement for past sins by helping customers make better choices with calorie counts on the front of its cans, bottles, and vending machines, which was done ahead of a regulation that goes into effect in 2014.