Junk Food Propaganda

Analysis of the article “Anti-Obesity Astroturfing Fails: Coca-Cola and Junk Food Philanthropy” by Amy Butcher, a freelance writer.

This article is about a product promotion and at the same time a marketing attempt gone wrong. Well if anyone thought that the irony of most junk food corporations in attempting to sell their products as healthy had reached the limit, they are wrong. The Coca-Cola Company has taken their game a notch higher to include a team of “nutrition and fitness experts,” in its marketing strategy. This team has a duty to advertise Coca-Cola soda as a healthy snack throughout the media. Recently the multi-national beverage giant came up with a propaganda blitz in order to popularize “mini cans” of Coke. As opposed to the usual 12-ounce can, the mini contains 7.5 ounce. These alleged health professionals prepare articles claimed to be approved by health consultants operating independently. These are posted for the public in magazines, newspapers, news websites and on the television, to portray Coca-Cola products as healthy and refreshing.

These devious strategies are being employed by the company to curb the dwindling sales recorded since the new dawn of healthy living. The target of such strategy is the dumber section of the shrinking customer base. Despite the efforts by these people to live healthy, they are carried away by baseless claims by health professionals about the health benefits of a mini can of coke immediately after a run or workout. “Limit yourself to a single-serving – one 100-calorie snack or look for a refreshing beverage option such as a mini can of Coca-Cola,” reads one of the dubious endorsements for coke, obviously posing to be an independent health article.

The campaign has been viewed as a ploy by most people. Funny enough, the company admits it openly. Their augment is, “big brand work with bloggers or has paid talent.” They are right to that extent, except for the fact that they pushing very harmful products loaded with phosphoric acid, high fructose corn syrup, and cancer-causing caramel color together with other harmful ingredients. How stupid do they think people are?

This is a marketing issue because the company is trying to curb dwindling sales recorded by the company. In this era of widespread lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, people are opting for healthy living. The first principle of healthy living is regular exercise followed by healthy dieting. Concerning dieting, junk foods are the first to be kicked out for one to live healthy. Since coke is one such junk, it has greatly been affected. To corner this problem, the company has opted to use ‘health professionals” to market their products. Most of the dumber population is likely to be swayed by such claims, resulting in increased sales for their mini can coke.

The micro-environmental issues that affect any business include; suppliers, media, shareholders, competitors, customers and employees. In this case the major factors are media and customers. The recent rise in media campaigns for healthy living and lifestyle diseases has greatly shaken up the Coca-Cola customer base. Most people are now more informed about lifestyle diseases, their causes and risk factors. Since junk foods rates as a major cause of these diseases coupled with lack of exercise, the general public is shying away from them. Coke being among the junk and processed beverages, it has greatly been affected as most of the customers now opt for natural products. The extensive media campaigns for healthy living resulted in dwindling customer base hence the vigorous media advertisement and campaign by the Coca-Cola Company to recapture the market.

It is also evident from the article that beverage firms are making frantic efforts to manipulate the consumers in as far as causes of obesity are concerned. It is worth noting that Coca-Cola is not in this alone as Pepsi is equally hinted as working on the same marketing model. Coca Cola may enjoy large customer base but the sensitivity of obesity will likely shake its market horizon and corporate image.

With the era of information technology and desire for healthy living, Coca-Cola is not likely to recover from this reduction in sales. It is now known that coke contains caramel which is cancer causing together with so many other harmful ingredients. Coupled with the fear and phobia associated with cancer, people are likely to avoid coke just like a plaque. For this reason, recovery from this challenge is going be a nightmare for the multi-national company.

The company is approaching the issue from a very wrong angle. Involving money-hungry health professionals to portray their harmful product as healthy is very unethical. The advertisements are so misleading that any person with a functioning brain would smell mischief from very far. This implies that only the dumber people and those who choose to ignore the health information will consume their products. This is very disastrous given the fact that the dumber people are becoming more literate each passing day and in the long run, they will shy away from coke. The best solution for them is to find alternative ingredients that are healthier to replace the harmful ones.

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