Coca-Cola calls on consumers to fight obesity with TV ads: video

15 January 2013 - 17:54 By AFP Relaxnews

In response to increasing attacks against the beverage industry’s responsibility in the obesity epidemic, Coca-Cola has developed a TV campaign that calls on consumers to follow a healthy diet and briefly acknowledges the company's part in the phenomenon.

The first two-minute ad, "Coming Together," which debuted Monday night across the US, weighs in on the public health debate that blames the rising obesity rates on the empty calories found in sugary, sweetened soft drinks and juices.

After going through the company’s own track record at reducing the calorie content in its drinks, the ad reminds viewers of a common-sense fact that doesn’t exempt its own products: "…all calories count. No matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola."

Measures Coca-Cola has adopted throughout the years have included reducing the average calories per serving by 22% in its products sold in the US and reducing beverage calories in schools by 90% since 2004 by swapping out sugary soft drinks for bottled water, juices and no-calorie drinks.

The second TV ad, "Be OK," will debut on Wednesday, January 16 and encourage viewers to "have fun" burning off excess calories.

Beverage industry vilified

The quasi-public health announcement, meanwhile, comes as the beverage industry faces a storm of criticism for playing what scientists, public health officials and whole governments charge is a large part in the worldwide obesity epidemic.

In March, for example, the city of New York will begin banning the sale of sugary sodas bigger than a pint, as found in restaurants, stadiums and movie theaters, an initiative spearheaded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

France also imposed a fat tax on sugary, sweetened drinks last year.

Studies, however, are mixed when it comes to industry’s role in the obesity epidemic. While one wide-sweeping Harvard study published last year found that men who drink a can of full-calorie soda or juice a day could be increasing their risk of developing heart disease by 20 percent, another paper out of Canada concluded that the vilification of soda was misguided.

More than the consumption of sugary drinks, the main predictors of childhood obesity among Canadian children were household income, ethnicity and household food security, researchers said.

Watch the ad below.