Controversial Coca-Cola ad campaign aims to fight obesity

(Photo: Bloomberg)

(Photo: Bloomberg)

ATLANTA, Ga. — Coca-Cola is launching an ad campaign to fight obesity.

A two-minute ad that debuted on prime-time cable T.V. Monday night promotes healthier options. Those options? Coke’s no-calorie and low calorie products.

“Today, we’d like people to come together on something that concerns all of us: obesity,” says a female voice over images of smiling, skinny Americans holding Coke products. “The long-term health of our families and the country is at stake.”

That suggestion — among others — has some health advocates fuming.

Experts say this ad campaign contributes to the idea that sugary soda doesn’t lead to weight gain — something they say is patently false. As for the low- and no-calorie products, critics say those artificial products often prove to be even worse for one’s health.

“The soda industry is under siege, and for good reason,” Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the New York Times. “This new advertising campaign is just a damage control exercise and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity.”

There’s also the fact that the advertisement only shows skinny, fit test subjects. Some critics say those images could lead to self esteem issues among the community Coke says it’s trying to help.