Archive for the tag - coke

Here’s What Coke’s Billboard Should Really Say…

My Rhode Island home is in the tough part of town. Unemployment is high. Food assistance programs are prevalent. And opportunities are far and few between.

But in contrast to the grey skies and muted color palette of the vacant mill buildings and abandoned factories, a bright new billboard has been erected atop a decaying brick warehouse. Much like the billboard below, it shows Santa drinking a Coca Cola beverage – and it offers a message of hope. “Open happiness,” it says.

Coke Billboard copy

Is it a coincidence that this billboard is in a poor community? Probably not. According to studies, low-income adults get 9% of the daily calories from soda. For high income adults, that number is just 4%. And soda is cheap. In fact, it’s often cheaper than water. It’s why Coca Cola is one of the biggest recipients of SNAP dollars through the federal food assistance program. Moreover, because low income communities have less access to resources and education, this population is likely to be less informed about the health risks of soda consumption.

While the billboard offers a message of hope by linking Coca Cola with happiness, the reality is quite different. Soda consumption has been linked with a number of ailments and conditions including obesity, liver damage, tooth decay, kidney disease, diabetes, heartburn, osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease and impaired digestion. Doesn’t sound like happiness to me.

As such, I’ve taken the liberty to redesign the Coca Cola billboard in Photoshop to correct for inaccuracies. I hope you enjoy. And happy holidays, Coke.

Coke Billboard Parody1

Coke Billboard Parody2

Coke Billboard Parody4

Should Coca-Cola be Allowed to Sponsor the Olympics?

Coca-Cola claims to be the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic games, having paid more than 0 million for the exclusive rights to be the official provider of non-alcoholic drinks at the games.

According to a Coca-Cola spokesperson:

This funding is critical to enable athletes from around the world to train, prepare for, and compete in the Games. Without the support of The Coca-Cola Company and the other worldwide sponsors, as many as 170 of the 200 National Olympic Committees would be unable to send athletes to compete.

I understand that corporate sponsors are necessary to help fund the Olympics, but partnering up with Coca-Cola seems a lot like blood money. While Coca-Cola claims to share the Olympic values of excellence, participation, friendship and respect, this partnership seems a little – forgive the pun – flat.

Yesterday, I was driving down the highway and saw one of Coca-Cola’s Olympic ads. In it, an athletic female swimmer is reaching underwater for a bottle of Coke. With her toned muscles glistening under her team USA bathing suit, the ad seems to imply that drinking Coke is part of a healthy lifestyle. In actuality, drinking Coke is more likely to give you type II diabetes than a gold medal.

In a lot of ways, the Coke billboard reminds me of tobacco advertisements from decades past. Whether it was a photograph of muscled men playing volleyball while smoking cigarettes or endorsements by athletes like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, the tobacco industry was undoubtedly trying to position their product well in the minds of health-conscious consumers.

Here are the facts: Drinking just one soda a day can equal an extra 25 pounds of weight per year. And sugary beverages are the largest source of added sugar for the average American – equaling about 50% of the typical person’s increased calorie consumption. This leads to obesity, heart disease and, of course, the diabetes epidemic. Some 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around, we shouldn’t be broadcasting any implied connection between drinking soft drinks and physical health or athletic performance. Make no mistake: Soda is poison for our bodies – and to give Coca-Cola such a high level of visibility at the Olympics seems to fly in the face of that which the games stand for.

BONUS:

Though America’s sugar consumption has dipped in recent years, check out this infographic to see the depth of our problem:

Infographic credit: http://www.onlinenursingprograms.com/nursing-your-sweet-tooth/

How to Get Kids to Drink Less Soda.

Earlier in the month, I wrote a post about the number of steps it would take to burn off some popular, high-calorie foods likes pizza (4,560 steps per slice), ice cream (1,980 steps) and french fries (6,000 steps). According to a new study, sobering reminders like these can lower the consumption of unhealthy foods.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tested three different types of labeling with various signs at different corner stores. They wanted to see if any such signage deterred young people from consuming high calorie colas.

One sign simply said that each soda can contains 250 calories. In this way, the label mirrored the nutrition information printed on the product. At a second store, the sign said that the soda contains 10 percent of the daily recommended caloric intake. At a third store, the sign reminded customers that it would take 50 minutes of running to counteract the calories in the cola.

Though each sign reduced soda sales, the sign that highlighted the physical activity equivalent (i.e., 50 minutes of running) was the most effective. Soda sales plummeted by a shocking 50% at that location.

It seems that some people don’t really understand the concept of calories and what they really mean. But they do understand the concept of spending 50 minutes on the treadmill; that translates much clearer. It makes things less abstract.

Dr. Sara Bleich, one of the researchers from the study went on to say:

People generally underestimate the number of calories in the foods and beverages they consume. Providing easily understandable caloric information – particularly in the form of a physical activity equivalent, such as running – may reduce calorie intake from sugar – sweetened beverages and increase water consumption among adolescents.

On a larger scale, I think the study challenges our current nutrition labeling system. While more research is clearly needed, perhaps we need to consider changing the way we highlight nutrition content to make things clearer and easier to understand for consumers.