The sincerity of big corporations and the marketing tactics that they employ has been met with scrutiny lately. AIG recently released a commercial thanking the American people when in reality they were debating whether they should bring a lawsuit against the US government over the terms of the deal that bailed them out of financial turmoil in the first place. The latest company to be met with public scrutiny is Coca-Cola. The "Coming Together" advertising campaign attempts to address the growing obesity epidemic is meeting guffaws, incredulity, and general ridicule. Today, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest offers a helpful translation of Coke’s ad and insight into the real motivations of the advertising campaign.
“Generally, when a company claims to be ‘part of the solution’ it means ‘we know we’re culpable so we must deflect the blame elsewhere,’” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in a press release yesterday. “So we thought it would be useful for consumers and policymakers to unpack similar examples of Coke’s disingenuous corporate gobbledygook and present them in plain English.” For instance, “for elementary, middle, and high schools, our industry has voluntarily changed its offerings,” is how Coca-Cola’s “Coming Together” ad describes sugary drinks’ departure from schools. CSPI’s translation? “By ‘voluntarily changed’ we mean after parents, school boards, and state laws kicked sugary drinks out of schools.” Coke’s statement that “all calories count, no matter where they come from,” is translated as “liquid calories are more conducive to weight gain than calories in solid foods.”
Last week, YouTube user “John Pemberton,” presumably named after the Georgia pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola and marketed it as a “valuable brain tonic”, released “The Honest Coca-Cola Ad.” And in October, CSPI released The Real Bears, an animated short film depicting a family of polar bears grappling with soda-related diseases, featuring an original song by Jason Mraz. That film has been viewed more than 2,000,000 times on YouTube.