Coca-Cola today launches an advertising campaign in the United States in support of the artificial sweetener, aspartame, the prime ingredient in its sugar-free soft drinks such as Diet Coke. The campaign is in response to recent research showing that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are contributing to the current obesity epidemic because of their effects on human metabolism.
Facing court action in the United States and denied air time for its ‘responsible’ advertising in the United Kingdom, Coca-Cola is running into turbulent times as it predicts declining financial returns for the coming year.
The Coke advertisements proclaiming their noble citizenship are large and red, but set against Reader’s Digest’s annual ‘most trusted brands’ fete they are less convincing than the giant beverage company would have hoped. Coca-Cola is probably the most recognised global food brand, but the real challenge facing the American commercial emblem and a host of other huge food brands is not recognition but integrity: the ultimate purchase question being, “do I trust this stuff enough to put it in my body?”
The fashion amongst New York’s trendy soft drink crowd is ‘real sugar’ Coca-Cola. Imported, of course, from Mexico where the Coca-Cola producers use real sugar from sugar cane rather than the heavily subsidised high fructose corn syrup that Coke uses in the United States.
A winemaker based in Bordeaux, France is attempting a reversal of history with the launch of a new product – Rouge Sucette (Red Lollipop) – a blend of red wine and cola. In responding to the huge appeal of Coca-Cola to the youth market, producer Hausmann Famille is reversing the phenomenon of Vin Mariani, a hugely successful drink in the 1880s, when wine and cocaine mixtures were popular and which was the model for Coca-Cola, modified into a soda under temperance pressure.
Coca-Cola has declared a fall in profit for the latest quarter in the current financial year, as a result of poor sales in the US market. While global sales volumes did increase by 1%, the most profitable market, US soda sales, were down 4%.
In a statement to US media, the Coca-Cola Company has declared its intention to lower calorie levels in its soft drinks and other products.
Following the announcement of its latest results, showing a 4% increase in sales volumes for the first quarter of the year, Coca Cola has announced that it will refranchise its US bottling operations. This is a reversal of previous policy, which saw the company purchase all its franchised bottling facilities in 2010.
Three influential Australian public health organisations have combined in the wake of Coca Cola’s advertising programme launched in the US to promote their positive sugar drink message. The Australian Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia have joined forces to launch the “Rethink Sugary Drinks” campaign across the Tasman.
It looks as if the hot sugar wars are heading our way, as Coca-Cola makes its first large scale attack on public policy in the United States with its launch of a hard hitting advertising campaign claiming it is doing its bit fighting the obesity epidemic and you can eliminate the calories in a Coke by having a good laugh. No, I don’t think there is intended irony in that claim, as Coca-Cola is not noted for self-deprecating humour, but seriously, is sugar soaked soft drink really the evil demon it is portrayed to be by public health advocates, or is it just the biggest, and easiest, target for gratuitous institutional control?
Coca-Cola will next week launch its own television campaign refuting claims that soft drink is directly linked to the current obesity epidemic. The company has made a series of two-minute television advertisements asserting that weight gain is a result of consuming too many calories from many different sources, not just soda (soft drinks). The company also highlights its shift towards low calorie alternatives, such as Diet Coke.
Following mass consumer excitement that has seen more than 160,000 New Zealanders engage in its ‘Share a COKE’ campaign, COKE is inviting people to vote on the 50 new names to be shared on COKE bottles.