Coca-Cola Media Campaign: securing the transnational bottom line in the name of obesity (#61)
In July 2013, Coca-Cola launched an advertising campaign in Australia designed to market themselves as part of the solution to reducing obesity. The Campaign focuses solely on personal responsibility for consumption of their product. This clever marketing strategy shifts focus away from discussion for effective public health strategies and in turn, from reducing the prevalence of obesity. The Campaign follows the launch of two public health education campaigns focussed on the link between consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and obesity.
This paper will explore the industry strategies used in the Coca-Cola Campaign which aim to undermine effective public health policies and programmes aimed at addressing obesity in Australia.
All publicly available media assets of the Coca-Cola Campaign were compared against the list of common strategies used by transnational industries to undermine effective public health policies and programmes as published in the Non-Communicable Diseases Series 20131.
Based on the NCD series, the Campaign is designed to encourage voters to oppose public health regulation and is part of the same public relations message that has been used to lobby stakeholder markets in the United States.
Both hard power (ie. building, financial and institutional relations) and soft power (ie. influence of culture, ideas and cognitions of people, advocates and scientists) have been used to encourage ineffective approaches to obesity: promotion of the company’s artificially sweetened beverages as a normal part of the Australian diet; deflection of criticism of the company by funding and marketing physical activity programs; and promotion of individual responsibility through the Australian Beverage Council.
The Coca-Cola Campaign promotes ineffective approaches to undermine public health strategies for controlling obesity in Australia in order that company profitability and financial security is preserved.