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Always Coco-Cola: Is the beverage brand taking obesity seriously?

Posted in Personal Health 17 Jan, 2013

Considered to be one of the most iconic brands in the world, Coco Cola the popular fizzy beverage is trying to address for the first time the issue of obesity. According to the Daily Mail, through a number of advertisements campaigns and commercials predominantly being shown in the US, the popular brand is wading into the debate of obesity and health and the contribution made by sugary and fizzy drinks such as Coco Cola.

What the advert addressed

During its two-minute campaign, the advert presents how the brand specifically has included fewer calories in their beverages over the years. With drinks including, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, Fanta Zero Orange, and Fanta Zero Lemon, and more, the brand are quick to highlight the low calorie choice drinks that they provide. But I have to wonder whether such campaigns, which seem to be trying to help address the issue of obesity, are simply the result of the increased pressure being placed on an industry, which has whether it admits it or not, been a contributing factor in the rise of obesity.

Damage control

Despite Coco Cola’s claims that the introduction of ads is to address the issue of obesity, many critics believe otherwise, suggesting that it is in fact a result of the “mounting pressure on the industry as a whole” and rather the result of “damage control”, to an industry that many believe has played a significant role in the rise of obesity. These new adverts come at the same time the New York Mayor has proposed capping the size of soft drinks, sold at a number of public entertainment venues such as restaurants, cinemas, sports arenas and other venues.

A step in the right direction

However, a spokesperson for Coco Cola, Diana Garza Ciarlante has argued that the new ads are not a reaction to the negativity linked to fizzy drinks, but rather as a means to address relevant issues in today’s society. Hence the company’s main goal she argues is to address the confusion with the brand’s beverages and the calories they contain. Furthermore she argues that the company’s inclusion of calorie information displayed on the front of cans and bottles in the US, and on vending machine shows the steps that are being taken to help the country’s obesity crisis.

Public reaction

It seems that despite its best efforts to market itself as a brand that can be enjoyed as part of a calorie controlled diet, the public may not agree. Figures have shown that all of the growth in the company’s soda business has come from the diet versions of the drinks, which make up nearly a third of the company’s sales. Despite this however, reports have shown that the sell of soda or fizzy drinks has steadily declined over the years as people become more health conscious and aware of the huge obesity crisis that has gripped not just the US, but large parts of Europe too.

Obesity vs profit

It could be argued that Coco Cola is moving in the right direction, seemingly wanting to help its customers be more aware of their products and calorie control, through methods such as new advertising campaigns, offering diet versions of many of their popular drinks, and displaying the calorie content on products. However, it is hard not to feel that maybe they are just succumbing to the pressure placed on them by the United States government, food campaigners, and health professionals to take more reasonability.

Although it may be pessimistic, I can’t help but wonder if Coco Cola is simply jumping on the proverbial ‘band wagon’ of healthy eating and food consciousness as a means to increase its revenues. If so, one could question whether Coco Cola are concerned with the rise of obesity or whether they are concerned with profit loss should they fail to evolve with the new health awareness adopted by consumers? The jury is still out.

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