Coca-Cola moves to right side of obesity fight as WA targets soft drinks

Coca-Cola is attempting to shift public perceptions in its role on public obesity with a wide ranging campaign to promote a series of new intiatives. The move coincides with the launch of a hard-hitting new anti-obesity campaign in Western Australia by WA Health.

A 60 second TV commercial launched last night is presented as a TV announcement about Coca-Cola’s local initiatives to help Australians to live healthy lives by providing low-kilojoule alternatives to Coke, as well as smaller cans, and clearly labelling bottles, cans and vending machines with nutritional information. The campaign, developed with creative agency Ogilvy, also explains how Coca-Cola is also investing in physical activity programs through its partnership with the Bicycle Network.

The Australian launch of this global campaign coincides with the roll out of the second phase of the LiveLighter campaign in Western Australia targeting obesity by attacking sugary drinks.

The campaign for WA Health by Sydney agency Behaviour Change Partners launched with a large front page ad on The West Australian’s Weekend West, showing a closeup of a hand taking a can of cola from a convenience store fridge under the headline ‘How do you turn sugary drinks into toxic fat?’ and a TVC showing what happens to the insides of a man when he drinks a can of cola from the convenience store. LiveLighter is being rolled out across print, radio, cinema and online in WA, and could be launched internationally and across the country.

Paul Fishlock, principal of Behaviour Change partners, said using the graphic, confronting imagery more usually associated with road safety and tobacco control campaigns to illustrate how a poor diet and low activity produces toxic fat around the vital organs and can be a cause of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, appears to have been more effective than softer approaches used. He said research from phase one of the campaign shows, “significant shifts in key measures such as understanding of health risks and intention to be more active.”

Meanwhile, Phil Roberts, commercial and franchise director of Coca-Cola South Pacific said in a statement: “Overcoming obesity will take action from all stakeholders working together, including Coca-Cola. We know moderation is a key component of an active, healthy and balanced lifestyle – and that we all need to make sensible choices to meet our individual nutrition and kilojoule needs,” said Mr Roberts.

“We believe Coca-Cola has an important role in providing more beverage choices, including more choice in serve sizes and low-kilojoule options, clearly communicating the kilojoule content of our products and supporting community-based physical activity programs.”

The Coca-Cola TV announcement is supported by advertising in print and online media, and Coca-Cola has pledged to meet a collective target of a 12.5 per cent reduction in energy by 2015 as part of their founding membership of the ‘Healthier Australia Commitment’.

“We believe these initiatives, as well as our existing policies and involvement in the ‘Healthier Australia Commitment’, demonstrate how serious we are about being part of the solution to obesity.”

Megan Reynolds

WA obesity front page

editorial WA livelighter

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