Coca-Cola has been working hard this year to address obesity, a problem many people (such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
) blame, at least in part, on soda.
In May, the company promised to scale back advertising to children under 12 years old and re-emphasized a push for diet drinks that began in January
One TV ad that’s seemingly a part of Coke’s efforts to be more health conscious has hit a pretty serious setback. The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned the spot, which is meant to show consumers simple ways to burn of the 139 calories in a 12-ounce can of Coke. A U.S. version of the ad, shown below, uses 140 calories instead of 139:
The authority says the ad doesn’t make it sufficiently clear that a consumers would have to do all the exercises listed in the ad—running with a dog, dancing, laughing—instead of just one activity to burn off all the calories. The authority banned the ad in response to 10 complaints from the public.
A big part of the disagreement is over the use of the “+” symbol. Coke says it’s obvious that the exercises should be combined because the symbol is shown between them. The authority said the symbol isn’t prominent enough.
[RELATED: Ragan's new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]
A Coca-Cola Great Britain spokeswoman offered Advertising Age
“Raising awareness of energy balance is part of our global commitment to help tackle obesity and we will continue to use our advertising to address it… Given the growing problem of obesity, we believe it is important for more people to understand this information.”
The ad, created by the firm Publicis, is still running in the United States and a few other countries.