Last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released a report tiled “Broken Pledges, Unhealthy Children,” which demonstrates how Coca-Cola’s marketing practices are inconsistent with its pledges to not market soda to children under 12.
- “Coke advertises on family-oriented TV shows, at theme parks, and other venues that reach huge numbers of children. While the company says it won’t use celebrities or characters whose primary appeal is to children under 12, it exempts its own “equity characters” like the Coke polar bears, and it uses Santa Claus in advertising throughout the world.”
- “Coca-Cola’s markets to children through parades and online videos, and licenses its logos and characters for use on trucks, puzzles, Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, and kids clothing, according to the report. Some videos, such as “The Great Happyfication” and “The Polar Bears” feature imaginative anthropomorphic characters that clearly appeal to children. The latter film was produced by Ridley Scott and directed by the director of Kung Fu Panda. And child-friendly theme parks like Disneyland are loaded with Coke advertising and drinks, according to the report. “
- “The reason for concern about Coke’s marketing practices is that strong scientific evidence demonstrates that frequent consumption of soda and other sugar drinks contributes to tooth decay, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.”
CSPI recommends that:
- Coca-Cola get its logo and its sugary drinks out of all primary and secondary schools throughout the world and extend its voluntary advertising limits to media and other venues whose audiences include 25 percent or more children 14 years old and under, and stop featuring Santa Claus and other child-friendly characters in its marketing.
- Congress restore the Federal Trade Commission’s full authority to issue industry-wide child-marketing rules, the report recommends.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsor national mass-media campaigns to encourage people to drink water or other healthful beverages instead of soda and sugar drinks. (CSPI has produced its own examples of what such campaigns might look like.)”