Do they think we are stupid?

Coca-Cola UK took out an advertisement in this Saturday’s Guardian newspaper. It told us the following:

‘We have helped reduce the sugar from soft drinks taken into UK households by more than 8% in the last 3 years’

‘43% of the Cola we sell is now lower or no sugar or calorie and we will grow that to 50% by 2020’

‘In 2015 we are increasing our media investment in our no and lower sugar Coca-Cola drinks to encourage more people to try them’.

Do they think they we are stupid? Do they really expect us to believe that they care about the health of the UK population? If they did care about the health of the UK population they would stop selling carbonated soft drinks, containing sugar, sweetener or any other mystery ingredient. Instead of doing that they enter what I call ‘Dress It Up’ mode. This entails spending millions on getting people to believe they are ‘doing the right thing’.

The ‘sugar reduction story’ is ridiculous; they still sell millions of cases of Coke with sugar and the rest contain artificial sweetener. The point about ‘encouraging more people to try’ means grow share and/or increase the category size. How about encouraging people to drink water?

The real motives of Coca Cola are clear from the opening remarks in the 2014 Annual Report; they see a huge opportunity to increase share of stomach:

‘Dear Fellow Shareowners, Tomorrow morning, about 2 billion households will wake up around the world, all of them thirsty and eager for refreshment. On average, each of these families will consume 26 drink servings throughout the day. And beverages of The Coca-Cola Company will account for about one and a half of those 26 servings. That’s just one reason we believe in our growth potential.’ (my italics).

At the same time, the Wall Street Journal in July reported that ‘Diet Coke fell 7% in the second quarter, with U.S. consumers continuing to balk at artificial sweeteners like aspartame.’ Funny how aspartame was not mentioned in today’s newspaper advertisement. The WSJ story also said: ‘The maker of Sprite, Fanta and Coke and other sodas, which make up about 70% of its business, also got a modest lift from improving sales in the U.S., where higher prices and smaller packages are offsetting turbulence in emerging markets that formerly supplied much of the Atlanta-based company’s growth’. So 70% of sales is made up of carbonated junk, and selling carbonated soft drinks in emerging markets is critical (same for all the Quick Service ‘Restaurants’, as they name themselves).

Coca-Cola help us with copious amounts of information about ‘choices’ (one of which is not ‘don’t drink this crap’). They also tell us that ‘water is one of our most important ingredients’ (wow, amazing in a drink). If you want to have a good laugh, read these carefully crafted messages

http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/health/choice-and-information/tackling-obesity-choice-and-information/

http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/health/choice-and-information/why-water-is-one-of-our-most-important-ingredients/

http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/content/dam/journey/gb/en/hidden/PDFs/coca-cola-choice-and-information-report.pdf

I can only conclude that they do think we are stupid.

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

One thought to “Do they think we are stupid?”

  1. Collectively we must be stupid because they are still selling lots of coke to uninformed people who don’t realise a bucket of sugar a day isn’t good for you.

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