Thursday, 7 August 2008


I know that I've written about things I've seen on the goggle box three times recently already and this makes no 4 but I'm nevertheless going to get on my high horse again and complain about the latest Coke ads to make their way onto our screens.

The ad shows beautifully shot footage of cold bottles, covered in condensation, the sensuous(!) shape of the bottle, the effervescent liquid looking wholesome and inviting. It claims that there are no artificial ingredients in the drink and that basically you can really trust Coke to provide you with a thirst-quenching refreshing drink that is not at all bad for you! Not only that, but it's always been good for you and has never contained any dodgy ingredients.

Well, I may be overclaiming the "no artificial ingredients" because this is based on my memory of the ad and as I've not seen it for a few days, I may have got the ACTUAL words wrong.....anyway, no matter, I think we can all assume that's the impression the company's marketers and ad agency want to convey even though they may be only able to make the claim about the "flavourings" - I'm sure their legal team were very careful to only claim what they could legally substantiate, even if they want you to believe that the product is and always has been truly wholesome. After all, the mighty Coca-Cola can't possibly say anything that might lead to a legal battle, can it?

So, never anything nasty in Coca-Cola? Er, well what about the aspartame in their diet formulations? Er - what about the cocaine that was in large quantities in the formula until 1903, then reduced substantially but still present until the 1930s? And while we're about it, what about the Sodium Benzoate linked to hyperactivity in children?

Not to mention having different corporate standards regarding the levels of pesticides that find their way into their products in countries where they think they can get away with lower standards? See Wikipedia's comments on this subject here, where an Indian organisation (Centre for Science and Environment) found levels of pesticides in Coke at 30 times the maximum allowed level in the EU.

But at the end of the day, who cares? Consumers buy it (and many, many people love it). The company makes a huge profit and provides stacks of money to governments all over the world in taxes - who am I to suggest that perhaps you should question the claims of wholesomeness and naturalness? I'm just an ordinary soul who thinks this is fundamentally wrong. I'd prefer to see companies being stopped from making these sorts of claims - even if they start saying that drinking Coke will make you more sexy, have a bigger penis or bigger breasts - surely at least these sorts of claims are so crazy that most people will see through their pretence.

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