From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support


CBI Magazine Read the lastest issue of CBI Magazine.  

 

Wednesday
Jan232013

Coca-Cola's ad on its fight against obesity gets mixed reaction

Earlier this month the Coca-Cola company aired a commercial that claims it wants to be part of the solution and not the problem when it comes to the obesity epidemic. 

It has already sparked a ton of interest. And even though many viewers are not sure how genuine the company is being, whether it will follow through and do what really needs to be done, and if the 2-minute spot was really just a disguised marketing and advertising ploy, they still have a strong opinion. 

The 125-year-old company that has more than 650 beverages, including Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Dasani water and scores of others, portrayed itself as now one of the companies doing the right thing. It says they “can play an important role.”

Coca-Cola said it can do that now by offering 180 low- or no-calorie options, producing smaller portion cans to control calorie intake, and has put the number of calories in the container on the front so the public knows how many they are consuming. 

It also says it is partnering with scientists and nutritionists to discovering new ways to limit calories, while it shows that it is a company that cares because it supports organizations like Boys Club and Girls Club of America. 

But is this enough? 

Fitness professionals are definitely split. Many feel just getting the subject on the minds of Americans is a huge step. Others, understandably, believe Coca-Cola is just answering society’s pressure as obesity is a hot-button issue. They also wonder if Coca-Cola will do anything more substantial, like cutting high-calorie drinks all together and earmarking money for education on the pitfalls of high-sugar bevarages. 

“To me, my first impression was (the advertisement) is great because it is creating more conversation on physical activity and the obesity epidemic,” said Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise. “If something like (the ad) brings attention to these areas, no matter how they do it, I believe it is a positive thing.” 

Shana Martin, Fitness director at Supreme Health and Fitness in Madison, Wisc., thinks what Coca-Cola is doing is spot on. 

“When I first saw it, and I still agree, the ad is brilliant. I don’t see a lot wrong with it, although I know many people don’t think so,” she said. 

“Anything we can do to explain what a calorie is, how to burn it … As (fitness) professionals it is easy to understand, but I think many people don’t understand.” 

Not everyone was sold, however. 

One IHRSA member feels she has a first-hand experience, outside of the people she sees at her gym, that gives her the perspective that the commercial certainly falls short. 

Karen Lankford, Members Sales & Service director at El Gancho Fitness, Swim & Racquet Club in Santa Fe, N.M., said her father is 350 pounds and drinks Diet Cokes all day, while her mother, who is also out of shape, sips on a 32- or 64-ounce soda throughout the day. 

 

“(Coca-Cola) can run an ad that says there are diet versions. I am not a medical researcher but in my own experience I don’t think diet or regular is the problem,” she said. “The news is all about the amount of sugar, but caffeine and carbonation are just not good for you (either). I know with my dad, (soda) is addictive. No one is saying anything about that.” 

“We are a generation that ‘Coke is life’ and ‘Coke is the real thing.’ They are not going to turn that around with a tiny, cute portion control bottle.” 

Lankford felt there was a lot in the ad relating to the company's recent image as one of the contributors of the problem of so many obese in the United States.

"When I saw the ad I was definitely thinking, OK, their marketing and PR departments are working overtime. There is definitely some self-preservation there."

While Joe White, a public relations associate for Midtown Athletic Clubs - which numbers 10 in Illinois, New York, Georgia, Florida, Kansas and Canada - felt the ad was “refreshing” in the company’s proactive stance, he can see how not everyone will see it that way. 

“I think as consumers we are all cynics. What’s the catch, a soft drink manufacturer is saying to limit yourself with our products?,” he said. “I think Coke is feeling the heat and even they know there are limits (on how much of it you should drink).”

"Coca-Cola wants us to consune as much of their products as we can. I think it is good that they tempering that by saying too much is not good for you." 

For some, the advertisement actually hit a very deep chord. Coach Mike Edge, Athletic director at The Arena Club in Bel Air, Md., said he will consider his actions, both personally and professionally. 

“The ad made me think a great deal,” he said. “Even with the companies we side with and deal with, I need to put myself in a position of making a difference. I, too, have to stand up and do something about it.” 

Alexandra Black, Health Promotions manager at IHRSA and a registered dietician, pointed out that the piece made it sound like all calories were similar and thus it is OK to consume a can of Coke, particularly this part of the ad: "All calories count. No matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories. And if you eat and drink more than you burn off, you'll will gain weight." 

Black noted that a 140-calorie Coke is certainly not the same as a banana and peanut butter with the same amount. She explained that it was but one example of misinformation. 

“For people trying to lose weight, hunger can be a challenge, especially at the beginning, and getting your calories from nutritious foods with fat, protein, and fiber will help reduce hunger and the desire to take in more calories,” she said. 

She was impressed with the effort by the company and that changing one thing is not a cure-all. 

“The first thing that stuck out in my mind was that Coca-Cola did a good job of promoting balance and recognizing that obesity isn't just a result of one, but many, things, and that's a good start.” 

Next week we will look into whether or not this is the first of many companies stepping forward and admitting they are contributing to the problem, what is next, and what can be done to fight the obesity epidemic.

 

Reader Comments (3)

Exactamente, como en mi aportación anterior lo comente, concuerdo con el comentario de Alexandra Black, Coca Cola intenta ponerse al nivel de cualquier alimento nutritivo al decir que todos los alimentos tienen aporte calórico y la cito:

"Alexandra Black, Health Promotions manager at IHRSA and a registered dietician, pointed out that the piece made it sound like all calories were similar and thus it is OK to consume a can of Coke, particularly this part of the ad: "All calories count. No matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories. And if you eat and drink more than you burn off, you'll will gain weight."

Black noted that a 140-calorie Coke is certainly not the same as a banana and peanut butter with the same amount. She explained that it was but one example of misinformation.

“For people trying to lose weight, hunger can be a challenge, especially at the beginning, and getting your calories from nutritious foods with fat, protein, and fiber will help reduce hunger and the desire to take in more calories,” she said. "

No somos idiotas! Nunca va a ser lo mismo meterte calorias que no aportan nutrición a un plato de comida decente.
January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArturo Garcia
Coco Cola is running a hundred year old company and is really has made a new attempt to revive its age old industry. The company is fearing about the consequences of its marketing policies with respect to the growing obese conditions in the country. So it just modified its ad to calorie based so that it may have a direct impact on the minds thus increasing its marketing rules. But people does not see the more of it. They just give in to the ads and result is more leading to the obese conditions and fats in the body.
February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda White
Obesity is soon becoming one of the most rising issue of concern in our country. The high rate of obesity can be contributed to the unhealthy life style and diet style. Consumption of high calorie good mainly junk food and other food containing too much of unsaturated fats can lead to a rapid increase in the body mass resulting in obesity.Obesity is also one of the major reasons of cardiac and renal disorders in young people at such an early age. Fizzy drinks are also a key player in causing obesity and even though the ad suggests fighting obesity, the activities speak otherwise. No wonder they got criticized for that.
March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.