Brand responsibility. Coca Cola tries to sugar-coat obesity issues with new campaign.


This week, Coca Cola has released a new campaign, which they claim is part of their commitment to help fight obesity.

With the brand being threatened, Coca Cola is trying to take a leadership position on the issue by trying to reframe the discussion around ways to still enjoy Coke without becoming obese.

But is it just sugar coating the issue or the brand behaving responsibly?

Coca Cola roadblocked Australian televisions and blanketed the press this week.

The ‘Coca Cola Journey’ boasts how Coca Cola is doing their bit by providing more information and choice as well as encouraging physical activity.

For a company that already has a dubious health reputation, particularly in developing countries, this is quite a bold but perhaps risky move.

Coca cola obesity ad_smallAt best, Coke is finally admitting that their sugary drinks are contributing to the problem. They claim it is the right thing to do.

Phil Roberts, Coca-Cola Australia’s customer and commercial director, says the company is “committed to being part of the solution” to Australia’s obesity problem.

However, it is already being viewed with much scepticism.

Experts have already labelled the campaign as a ‘smokescreen’.

Rob Moodie, professor of public health at the University of Melbourne, told The Age, “if Coca-Cola was serious about fighting obesity, they would be restricting advertising to young children and they’d be encouraging other companies to do the same.”

Fundamentally, until they address the high sugar content in any product they still sell, they will continue to lack any real credibility on fighting obesity.

Professor Moodie added that if they really wanted to fight obesity, “they wouldn’t put 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coke.”

I’m also not sure Coke will achieve any real benefit from this campaign and it already appears to be backfiring.

But then the motives behind this are also questionable. Is it really in Coca Cola’s interest to convince brand lovers to reduce their consumption or switch to a healthier beverage?

In reality, the message will probably lost on the people who need to hear it most anyway.

I doubt whether loyal Coke fans who are struggling with weight issues are unlikely to be swayed to be excited that their coke has shrunk in size, switch to Diet Coke or get on their bike as a result of this campaign.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this campaign and if it affects your opinion of the Coca Cola brand.

Michael Hughes
Strategy Director and Partner
Follow @logiculture


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