Coca-Cola recently announced that it would tackle the obesity issue head-on. As our nation’s weight has become a topic of more and more concern and discussion, soda companies have largely remained quiet, except to tout arguments about personal responsibility and lobby hard against soda taxes or bans like the one soon to take effect in New York City.
But this week, Coke announced that it would wade into the issue with two ads. Here is the first, entitled “Coming Together,” which notes what the beverage industry has done to combat obesity over the last 15 years. What have they done? By offering more low- and no-calorie beverages, the average calories in products made by the beverage industry is down 22%. They also underscore work to make calorie labeling clearer, smaller soda sizes, and a voluntary program to replace sodas in schools with diet soda and fruit juices (please note: children–or grownups, for that matter–should also not be drinking that many diet sodas and processed fruit juices).
The ad makes the point that the only thing that matters is that you burn more calories than you take in. And while this is fundamentally true (you won’t gain weight if you are at a calorie deficit), a liquid, high-fructose corn syrup calorie is not the same–health-wise–as, say, a calorie from an organic vegetable.
A second ad, about fun things you can do to burn off the calories in a Coke, will drop tomorrow. I imagine they’ll skip the best suggestion, which would be to “put down the Coke and drink a Dasani.” This would still make Coke money, while saving you the calories. Provided you could live with the guilt of buying bottled water.