Coca-Cola radio ad banned for promoting Coke as a meal substitute

Coca-Cola South Pacific has had one of its radio advertisements banned by the ad watchdog for insinuating Coke was an adequate substitute for lunch.

The radio advertisement featured a couple discussing that they wanted to go and get a sandwich as a woman’s stomach grumbled, the woman then took a sip of her drink and said “that’s better”.

According to the Ad Standards Board, the ad begins with a male asking “was that your stomach?” to which a girl responds “yep, let’s get a sandwich”.

A voiceover then says “that feeling when your stomach tells you it’s lunchtime” which is followed by the girl having a sip of a drink as she says “that’s better”.

Writing to the Advertising Standards Board, a complaint said the radio ad has “no mention of calorie control, healthy eating” or a balanced diet when there is a “growing obesity epidemic”.

The ad was part of the ‘Moments’ campaign and used the slogan ‘taste the feeling’.

Coca-Cola said the intention of the campaign was to connect having a Coke with a lunch time meal and there was never any intention to suggest a Coke should be the only thing consumed for lunch.

The advertiser said it did not believe such a conclusion could be “drawn from what is heard on the commercial”.

Taking into consideration both the complaints and the advertisers response, the Board said the overall impression left by the ad was that Coke was a suitable substitute for lunch.

The Board upheld the complaint as the radio advertisement undermined the promotion of a healthy and balanced diet and suggested Coke could be a meal replacement.

In response to the ruling, Coca-Cola said: “We respect, and have taken on board the findings of The Board’s decision, which will allow us to make positive adjustments to the campaign going forward.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.