Coca-Cola has rolled out a series of anti-obesity ads that highlights some of the measures that the company has taken already to curb obesity, including making calorie counts more visible and packaging more products in smaller cans and bottles.
Critics of the campaign claim that Coke is mere trying to enhance its image in this time of increased awareness of obesity. These same critics claim that if the company was truly concerned about the obesity epidemic, they would change their product entirely or alter their pricing to encourage healthy consumption, which really means less consumption.
I think these critics are stupid, naïve ignoramuses.
Of course Coke’s campaign represents an attempt to enhance its image. This is the purpose of advertising. It’s why advertising exists.
What would these critics have the company do? Spend millions of dollars on public service announcement instead? Spend money in an effort to decrease sales?
Their suggestions for how Coca-Cola might effect real change are equally stupid. Essentially, critics would like Coco-Cola to stop selling Coca-Cola or sell their products at such exurbanite rates that people would drink less of it.
Sure, this might curb consumption and reduce the total number of calories that customers are ingesting, but Coca-Cola is not a non-profit organization. It is not Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. It is a company that sells a soft drink, beholden upon its stockholders and employees to earn a profit, with a loyal following of adult consumers who can make choices for themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with a company engaging in advertising in order to enhance it image, and while the measures the company has taken to reduce obesity fail to transform the product into a calorie-free beverage or price is like printer ink or black market hemoglobin, they are legitimate strategies designed to assist consumers who are interested curbing their calorie intake.
Failing to give credit to the company for these legitimate measures makes you look extremist, naïve, uncompromising and ultimately stupid.