Coca-Cola starts ads involving obesity

Updated Jan. 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM
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ATLANTA, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Coca-Cola is rolling out two ads addressing obesity, one for policymakers and one for the general public, company officials said.

"It's the first time we're really leaning into the conversation," Diana Garza Ciarlante, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, told Advertising Age. "We're doing it in a way that's anchored in what people expect of Coca-Cola. They expect us to be part of the dialogue, to lead where we can and to be responsive."

A two-minute ad, "Coming Together," began airing Monday on national cable news channels such as CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, highlighting the company's record of developing, distributing and marketing low- and no-calorie beverage options.

The spot, created by Brighthouse and Citizen2, communicates a "calories in, calories out" message.

"Beating obesity will take action by all of us, based on one simple commonsense fact -- all calories count, no matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories," the ad says. "If you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight."

The second ad, "Be OK," is scheduled to be broadcast Wednesday during "American Idol" on Fox and during the Super Bowl pre-game show.

Ciarlante said this ad is part of a global campaign that features a host of activities such as walking a dog or dancing that burn off the 140 calories in a regular can of Coke.

Some were skeptical about the ad campaigns because it might not escape the notice of the consumer that if taking a walk burns off the calories of a soda, taking a walk and drinking water might leave a consumer ahead of the game.

Jeff Cronin, a spokesman for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, discounted the ads.

"It's not meant to be a meaningful contribution to addressing obesity," he said.

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