Marketing Coke to Kids: Broken Pledges, Unhealthy Children

Marketing Coke to Kids

Broken Pledges, Unhealthy Children

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.

The Coca-Cola Co. invests billions of dollars in advertising and other forms of marketing throughout the world every year, notwithstanding the fact that its sugar drinks contribute to tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. To boost sales, the company uses traditional media advertising, as well as videos and advergames on the Internet, marketing in theme parks, licensing of its logos for toys, product placements on television and tie-ins with Hollywood films, Facebook and other social media, apps, sponsorships with sports teams and entertainers, and advertising in and around schools. Some of that marketing is aimed at young children, while much of it may be intended primarily for the general public or teenagers, but is still highly attractive to young children.

Having recognized long ago that its sugar-sweetened drinks contribute to health problems, CocaCola has never advertised on children’s television and has pledged not to market those drinks to children 11 and under. However, some of the company’s marketing practices are directly inconsistent with those pledges. In other cases those pledges contain “escape clauses.” Thus, Coke says it won’t advertise “directly” to children in ways that appeal “primarily” to children or to engage in “undue” marketing in schools.

Read more: http://cspinet.org/coke-kids-report.pdf