Coca-Cola's global campaign to fight obesity has officially crossed Canada’s borders, with a two-minute TV ad featuring a narrator extolling the importance of addressing an issue that "concerns all of us."
The ad, which was launched earlier this year in the U.S. and aired on some of the country’s most popular shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, is part of a wider campaign which the company says will kick off a variety of other initiatives, such as providing more diet option drinks.
"At the end of the day, it’s knowing how many calories you’re intaking, and knowing how many calories you’re burning," the president of Coca-Cola Canada Nicola Kettlitz told CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday.
"What the ad does is talk about that and talks about the role (Coke) plays and coming together to solve the issue."
Kettlitz said that weight gain is a result of consuming an excessive amount of calories of any kind – not just soda – and that Coca-Cola products can be incorporated into a number of different lifestyles.
"There’s nothing wrong with the Coke itself,” Kettlitz said. “As long as you put in the context of the overall balance of diet from the calorie perspective, from a nutritional perspective … I think Coke can fit perfectly to any lifestyle as long as you take into account what it is and how many calories it has in it."
The claim, however, that all calories are created equal isn’t one that nutritionists necessarily agree with. According to registered dietitian Jennifer Sygo, liquid calories from sugary soft drinks trick the brain into believing that you’re still parched. The result is a desire for more soda.
It's a message many consumers are becoming familiar with. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is continuing a so-far unsuccessful campaign to put a cap on the size of soft drinks sold at restaurants, movie theatres, sports arenas and other venues. The anti-supersized soda crusade comes at a time when overall soda consumption in the U.S. has been on a decline since 1998, according to industry tracker Beverage Digest.
But despite the negative publicity for soft drinks, Coca-Cola maintains the ad is not a knee-jerk reaction to calls for such bans. Diane Garza Ciarlante, a spokesperson for the beverage company, explained to The Associated Press the ad is about "telling our story."
She noted that the company was careful to avoid sounding "preachy" when crafting the ad.
With files from The Associated Press