Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cola - busted myths re-busted

You don't have to follow the world of advertising closely to be aware of the recent furore created by a Coca Cola advertising campaign.

The campaign featured a famous Australian character actor, Kerry Armstrong, under a "Motherhood and Myth-busting" headline. In the ad, Coke attempted to bust some of the urban legends about Coca Cola, including the fact that it rots teeth, makes you fat and contains large amounts of caffeine.

No need to go back over the wrongs around this campaign (I mean, when did the Coca Cola brand start being about a soft drink?), but a recent news story on the BBC charted some of the realities associated with excessive consumption of cola.

And it really serves to highlight the problem of the 'myth-busting' ad.

That's because, while drinking Coke in moderation (and in conjunction with a balanced diet and good oral hygiene), is unlikely to lead to major problems, this ad is akin to positioning cars as irrelevant to global warming ("Go ahead. Use your Hummer. It's those big factories that are the main problem.").

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) agreed, with ACCC Chairperson, Graeme Samuel stating:

"Coke's messages were totally unacceptable, creating an impression which is likely to mislead that Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight gain, obesity and tooth decay."
When you have "tens of millions of people in industrialised countries drink[ing] at least 2-3 l of cola per day" then you've got a problem. Coca Cola want people to consume, but the reality is they need to know that Coke does not provide the nutrition of a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts - and is something to be consumed rarely, not commonly.

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