Coca-Cola (KO) has found itself the target of yet another anti-obesity campaign.
“Because happiness doesn’t come in a red can. Obesity does,” says the ad in its closing lines.
The Horizon Foundation tells AdAge that while it wasn’t necessarily trying to single out Coke, it wanted to shine a light on the fact that the companies spend the bulk of their advertising dollars on their arguably least-healthy products.
“We see this as more of an attack on the advertising,” Ian Kennedy, Horizon Foundation’s communications director, told AdAge. To that end, the ad does portray water and other lower calorie drinks made by both Coke and Pepsi (PEP) as acceptable alternatives.
Coke declined AdAge's request for comment.
Targeting Coke has become a popular subgenre of advertising. In December of 2012, ad man Alex Bogusky developed a nearly four-minute attack ad for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. With an original soundtrack from singer Jason Mraz, the video took aim at Coke’s popular polar bears. This family of lovable polar bears chugs soda, eventually losing teeth and feeling other ill effects.
Coke itself actually kicked off the year with a commercial touting its array of low-calorie offerings, noting that out of a portfolio of 650 beverages some 180 were low, or no-calorie options. And, hey, if you do decide to down a bottle of full-powered coke, just balance that out with some exercise.
Coke’s commercial quickly got some new, unauthorized voiceover work that cast a less favorable light on the company.
“Even though we’ve reduced the calories per serving, these beverages can still cause kidney problems, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cell damage and rotting teeth,” says the pirated ad. “Which leaves 470 beverages which have extremely high, unhealthy levels of calories.”
Naturally, Coke isn’t expected to feel much pain from the latest salvo against its brand. However, with each ad, it seems Coke takes another step closer to becoming the face of obesity.