New Coca-Cola Ads Address Obesity Epidemic


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When it comes to foods tied to the obesity epidemic, soda--with 140 calories and 39 g of sugar per can--is commonly considered public enemy number one. Now, Coca-Cola is directly addressing the ongoing debate over soda and obesity in a new ad campaign that begins airing today on major networks, including CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

The first ad draws attention to the lower-calorie options the brand offers, while commenting on how obesity is a result of consuming too many calories overall—not just soda. Later this week, Coke will air another ad during American Idol featuring a montage of activities that add up to burning off the “140 happy calories” in a can of Coke, including walking a dog and dancing, according to the Associated Press.

This sounds like progress, but we couldn’t help but wonder: Will this campaign really raise awareness on the obesity epidemic, or is it just another snazzy marketing campaign?

“While I think it’s great they are promoting lower-calorie options, I’d rather see people drinking water,” says Keri Gans, registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet. “An occasional diet soda isn’t the end of the world, but if you consume five diet sodas a day, that’s still a problem,” she says.

Additionally, though Gans likes the positive message of promoting physical activity, she dislikes the idea of equating happiness with drinking soda. “Bottom line, 140 calories of soda, is still 140 calories of no nutritional benefit,” she says. However, she thinks it’s a step in the right direction that Coke is promoting exercise and fitness. “If you’re consuming those extra calories, then you better make sure you work them off,” she says.

Others are inclined to believe the new ads are pure gimmick. “This new advertising campaign from Coca-Cola is just a damage control exercise, and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity,” says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

What do you think about Coca-Cola's new ad campaign? Will it be positive for public health or is it just smoke in mirrors?

keywords: Weight Gain, obesity, soda, fitbie