The Union Recorder

Local News

January 14, 2013

Coca-Cola to address obesity for first time in ads

(Continued)

ATLANTA —

The 30-second ad, a version of which ran in Brazil last month, is intended to address confusion about the number of calories in soda, said Diana Garza Ciarlante, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Co. She said the company's consumer research showed people thought there were as many as 900 calories in a can of soda.

When talking about calories and weight gain, Garza Ciarlante noted that the company had to be careful with the ads to remain consistent with its brand voice and avoid sounding "preachy."

Coca-Cola declined to give details on what it plans for the year ahead. But among the options under consideration is putting the amount of activity needed to burn off the calories in a drink on cans and bottles.

The company noted it has already made several moves to help customers make better choices, such as putting calorie counts on the front of its cans and bottles in the U.S. Last year, it also started posting calorie information on its vending machines ahead of a regulation that will require soda companies to do so by 2014.

Public concern over the calories in soda is apparent in Coca-Cola's changing business. In North America, all the growth in its soda business over the past 15 years has come from low- and no-calorie drinks, such as Coke Zero. Diet sodas now account for nearly a third of its sales in the U.S. and Canada. Other beverages such as sports drinks and bottled water are also fueling growth.

Even with the growing popularity of diet sodas, however, overall soda consumption in the U.S. has declined steadily since 1998, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest.

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