You would think that half a century would be enough time for a company that brands itself as a nutritional innovator to keep up with the science, but in its new anti-obesity commercial, "Coming Together," Coke continues avoiding the real issues of obesity.
First, check out this Coke ad from 1961, "Coke Keeps You Thin!"
Then watch this commercial, released last week:
Both ads posit Coke as a champion in the fight against obesity. The first, stating that Coke has fewer calories than "half a grapefruit," is luring the consumer in through the mathematics of less: less calories = slimmer waistline.
The second, created 51 years later, is saying the exact same thing. Notice where the viewer's attention is directed: on the 180 low- and no-calorie beverages. Nothing is said of the 470 others in the company's portfolio and the nutritional ravaging it has waged on America's organs.
The obviously frustrating aspect of Coke's commercial is that it relates weight gain purely to calories while nearly completely sidestepping sugar content. In Coke's defense, it does mention its search for sweetener alternatives and actually -- if not directly -- offers a link between sugar-filled drinks and diabetes, though mostly it claims that it doesn't matter where you get your calories from because everything you ingest contains calories.
Most interesting, however, is Coke's move of offering smaller portions in 90 percent of the American marketplace -- a sure sign that Michael Bloomberg's often-scoffed-at ban of large sugary beverages in New York City has been effective.
There's a way to make the mayor's lead even more effective: Stop purchasing products created by Coca-Cola until the company can be honest about what modern nutritional science is telling us. And yes, that includes putting down the Dasani and installing a filter onto your faucet.
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