Recently the Coca-Cola Co. aired an anti-obesity commercial hoping to save some face for the company. It seems that soda sales have dropped since research has won out that soft drinks can be bad for one’s heath. The commercial on the whole aims to communicate how Coca-Cola is making changes in their drinks to lower calories, and at the same time, they claim, being more intentional with what products they offer in schools. You can take a look at the commercial here:

Honestly, this commercial bums me out. I do appreciate Coca-Cola’s decision to offer more drinks with fewer calories for those people interested in cutting back (on calories, not Coke). However, I can only half-way applaud them regarding this commercial, specifically, because they are, in fact, still selling the products that are known to increase obesity. And yet, the commercial clearly communicates the company’s efforts to bring obesity down. How can it do both? While aiming to cast the company in a positive light, the commercial is still an ad– and at the end of the day they want consumers to buy their product. Even though the health side of the research isn’t in Coca-Cola’s favor, the company holds amazing sway over the way people view drinking soda. If a company can offer a less-sugary drink to consumers, then of course the numbers are going to show that. But does the decrease in sugar consumption (specifically tied to soft-drinks) match a decrease in obesity? No one really knows.

Is drinking Coca-Cola the cause of obesity? In some cases, the numbers suggest that to be the case. Is the occasional Coke now and then problematic? Who’s to say for certain. It’s not up to a company to end obesity. Those in the Coca-Cola industry can try to do their part to ease the numbers, but they can’t control the outcome.  Decisions are made on an individual basis regarding health and wellness. You can know something is good for you and you can know something is bad for you, and you have to be the one to make health-related decisions. I think I’ve made mine.


  1. Jewel,

    Thanks for this article. There’s been a lot of controversy over New York City’s ban on soft drinks that are larger than a certain size… do you think the measure will be a helpful one? I’m inclined to think it could be a helpful step in the commuter culture that is NYC (because it prevents people from buying huge drinks that they then take along with them drink during the day), but wouldn’t be as effective elsewhere (say, in a slow-paced town where most people get multiple refills anyway… like Louisville!). But that’s just my take. What’s yours?

  2. Actually, I like this commercial. Culturally, we’re too quick to vilify companies (Coke, McDonalds, Hostess, etc.) for their fattening products when the truth is, they never pretended to be anything but soft drink or fast food companies. Yes, they’re trying to sell their product here (that’s why, as you’ve pointed out, it’s commercial); but as consumers, we shouldn’t really be expecting anything different from companies and their advertisements. Coke is basically saying “Look, we never pretended to be a health food company … It’s not a surprise to us that if you drink our product 3xs a day you’ll gain weight. Don’t drink or eat more calories you burn a day, in any form. It’s the most basic health fact, EVER.” But we (or our culture at large) seems inexplicably surprised and outraged by these companies doing … what they’ve always done (“What, these five cokes a day are making me fat!?! How DARE they market me a product that I decide to buy despite the overwhelming information I have at my fingertips that tells me over-indulging in this product is bad for my health! I am ASTONISHED.”) I am a huge advocate for self-responsibility and control, and that’s exactly what Coke seems to be promoting here (along with their product).

  3. Hey Ben!

    This could be a great move for NYC to limit soda-sizes, based on some articles I’ve read on the subject. However, like you said, so many people (we’ll stick with Louisville) can get free refills on soft drinks regardless of the size first purchased, so only selling one size wouldn’t really cut back on the consumption. Going back to the original post, using force (like the soda ban in NYC) or marketing (the Coca-Cola commercial) might not really change a person’s mind or opinion on the matter. Maybe better education on the affect of soda would be more beneficial? Education AND action together? Just a few thoughts.

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