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article imageCoca-Cola defends drinks in new ad, points to low calorie options

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 15, 2013 in Food
A new ad from Coca-Cola is defending itself against criticisms and promoting its low sugar and sugar free beverages as ways to combat obesity. The ads are being launched this week.
Coca-Cola is launching a commercial that promotes some of its products saying the company can "play an important role" in combating obesity, according to ABC News' Good Morning America.
In the 2-minute ad, entitled "Coming Together", the soft drink giant says:
The long term health of our families and the country is at stake. And as the nation's leading beverage company, we can play an important role.
The advertisement goes on to point out it has 650 beverages in its portfolio, of which over 180 are "low and no calorie" choices. The ad also highlights the company is striving for smaller and portion controlled sizes and making calorie information more visible for consumers to see on the containers.
"Beating obesity will take action by all of us, based on one simple common-sense fact: All calories count, no matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories," the female announcer in the ad said. "And if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight."
What wasn't mentioned in the ad was the negative effects of soda on health or that many of its beverages do not have any nutritional value.
The second ad, due to be launched during "American Idol" on Wednesday night, is titled "Be OK" and focuses on how burning off Coke's 140 calories could be fun.
“We are committed to bring people together to help fight obesity,” said Stuart Kronauge, General Manager, Sparkling Beverages, Coca-Cola North America, in a press release. “This is about the health and happiness of everyone who buys our products and wants great-tasting beverages, choice and information. The Coca-Cola Company has an important role in this fight. Together, with willing partners, we will succeed.”
In its press release, the company goes on to highlight community based programs it supports, such as Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness, America is Your Park, Triple Play (this gears health awareness to kids according to the description), School Fitness Centers & Governor’s Physical Fitness Challenge, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and ClimbsCorpTM.
Coca-Cola also pointed out its "responsible marketing" in not targeting ads at audiences that are "more than 35 percent children under 12".
These commercials come at a time where laws are being passed and put into effect that limit the size of sugary drinks that can be sold in certain venues. New York City's ban on drinks larger than 16 oz. is scheduled to take effect in March and reportedly, other cities may follow suit.
"The soda industry is under siege, and for good reason," Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said, reported the Los Angeles Times. "This new advertising campaign is just a damage control exercise and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity."
The company said last year it is not responsible for the obesity epidemic, as reported by Digital Journal.
Here's the first commercial. What do you think?
More about Coca cola, high calorie drinks, Sugar, Soda, sodas
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