Stuart Smith on (un)healthy drinks

The Advertising Standards Authority’s rejection of Coca-Cola’s Glaceau Vitaminwater advertising campaign highlights an unappetising facet of the soft drinks giant’s communications strategy. The rejected health claims in the ads reveal an underlying attitude which is at best naive about health trends, and at worst downright cynical.

The key problem is the positioning of the Glaceau range as something healthy. It is not. As the ASA pointed out, no 500ml bottle of a soft drink
which contains 26% of our recommended daily allowance of sugar could reasonably be considered healthy.

This is wake-up time for Coke and other purveyors of debatably healthy foods masquerading as something diametrically the opposite. By all means market them as indulgence or convenience products, but don’t play the health card. The game’s up. The Euro health police are on to you, and they won’t let up.

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