Jan 14 Coca-Cola Co will air a two-minute
commercial on a U.S. cable television news show on Monday that
highlights its efforts in fighting obesity, as the soft drink
industry faces increasing pressure from local governments and
The commercial, which will air on CNN during The Situation
Room with Wolf Blitzer, mentions how Coca-Cola sells about 180
low- and no-calorie drinks, works to produce better-tasting
low-calorie sweeteners and has introduced smaller can sizes.
It also reminds viewers that "all calories count no matter
where they come from" and that "if you eat and drink more
calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight".
Another commercial, which talks about Coke's
front-of-package calorie labels, will debut on Wednesday during
the popular "American Idol" television show on Fox, which has
partnered with Coke, the world's largest soft drink maker, for
This is not the first time Coca-Cola has addressed the issue
with advertising, but the prime-time TV commercials seem like "a
full-blown exercise in damage control," said Michael Jacobson,
executive director of the Center for Science in the Public
Interest and an outspoken critic of the industry.
"They're trying to pretend they're part of the solution
instead of part of the problem," Jacobson said. If Coke was
serious about wanting to be part of the solution, Jacobson said,
it could stop advertising full-calorie drinks altogether, set up
a pricing scheme where full-calorie drinks were more expensive,
or stop opposing proposed soda taxes.
Coke's commercials come as New York City prepares for an
upcoming ban on the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces
in places like restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums. In
November, voters in two California cities rejected ballot
measures for soda taxes.
Coca-Cola, which is also a big sponsor of the Olympics and
other sporting events, spent about $610 million on advertising
in 2011, according to Brad Adgate at Horizon Media Inc, citing
figures from Advertising Age.
American Idol is one of the costliest TV shows for
advertisers, according to the latest annual survey by
Advertising Age. The survey, released in October, found that the
average cost of a 30-second spot on Wednesday's edition of the
show was $340,825.