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From Cocaine to Corn Syrup, Coca Cola Has Seen Its Battles
By: Sarah Jane Dunaway
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There’s been a great deal of debate surrounding the sugar and soft drink industry. From Mayor Bloomberg eliminating large soft drinks from New York City to countless reports about soda consumption linking to obesity, brands like Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola have been witnessing quite a change of pace for their brand admiration.

Coca-Cola has been an icon in America for years, staying strong over the years with ads like “Tomorrow’s People” and its polar bear characters. Its mere existence is a staple in American society and the magical Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta can’t help but bring joy and happiness to the heart (I speak from first-hand experience here!).

Unfortunately, the happy world of Coca-Cola is still under fire even after launching its anti-obesity campaign earlier this year. It occurs to me that if an entire brand is centered around something like soft drinks, which are being attacked for their overall existence, how does the brand recover and stay sane during the process?

As Advertising Age points out, “It’s [Coca-Cola] been the bad guy before, but a fresh batch of initiatives and studies are recasting sugar from its former status as a substance that might decay teeth and add a pound or two to one that contributes to life-threatening diseases. In some cases, it’s even been cited as a toxin poisoning the entire country.”

Well, as an avid Coca-Cola fan who rarely consumes my beloved fountain Diet Coke beverage, for obvious reasons, I think Coca-Cola is on the right track. The reality is that sugary sodas are anything but an asset to the average American's diet and, given the decline in activity over the last several decades, it’s no wonder that obesity is still on the rise.

I am impressed though with Coca-Cola’s ability to recognize the problem and tackle it to the best of their ability. Remember the days when Coca Cola was made with cocaine? Well, I actually don’t remember those days (too young to know), but I do know Coca-Cola took an aggressive step to remove the substance and replace it with caffeine — albeit another addictive product, but at least it’s legal.

Nevertheless, Coca-Cola is trying. Whether or not you agree with their “Coming Together” campaign, at least Coca-Cola is trying to put it out there that they know their product is harmful. Not only that, but they’ve been working with school systems to offer low-calorie and bottled-water options and smaller portion sizes and increase awareness about the importance of exercise. I’d say that’s at least some good news.


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About the Author

Sarah Jane Dunaway is a brand strategist and design consultant, and the writer and creator behind the blog Clean & Proper. A former member of the paper and printing industry, Sarah Jane specializes in helping businesses of all sizes streamline marketing communications by creating compelling brand identity systems and corporate identity packages. Find her online here

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