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If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them
By: Casey Schoelen
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It’s all about soda. Lately, one consumer watch group or another has started going after the sugary soft drinks as being the source of obesity, or at least a predominate cause. The city of New York banned large sized soft drinks. The CSPI as well as the city of Chicago are petitioning to create a sugary drink tax as a way to curb usage. How are the manufacturers responding? One in particular is facing the accusations head on. Science has proven that there are significant health impacts of consuming soda in large quantities over long periods of time. But facts alone is not enough and those scientists authoring these reports are not out there physically taking the soda cans out of people’s hands. So how are soda brands supposed to combat the attack? By helping consumers at least understand options to combat the side effects.
Coca-Cola has launched a UK website that allows soda drinkers to go online, choose their preferred Coca-Cola beverage, and then select from various categories of exercise to see how they can burn off the liquid calories of their favorite drink. Launched in November, the “Work It Out Calculator” has created a buzz worldwide among soda drinkers and fitness gurus alike. The comments present a mixed bag of perceptions. Is it an oxymoron for a soda company to encourage healthy and balanced lifestyles? Is it a positive that they are telling soda drinkers that canoeing for 56 minutes will burn off a can of Cherry Coke? Or is it just worthless since it doesn’t curb the consumption of soda and thus doesn’t really help diminish obesity rates? It might depend on which side of the fence someone is on, but ultimately something is better than nothing.
By providing a resource to help consumers find a more balanced lifestyle, at least Coca-Cola is trying to curb its share of the blame game because they really aren’t responsible for the average consumer’s consumption of liquid sugar calories and lack of exercise. While they aren’t out there stopping soda addicts from drinking their beverages, they aren’t out there forcing people to drink soda nor are they out there chaining consumers to the couch either. At the end of the day, it is completely the consumer’s choice what to eat or drink. Coca-Cola is at least reaching out to positively impact the effects of soda consumption, which is more than other soda manufacturers are doing.

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About the Author
Casey Schoelen is a young millennial excited and passionate about branding, advertising, and marketing. She is also a Nashville-native who loves traveling, reading the NYT, and watching sports.
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