Coke and Pepsi: How and Why they Hide the Truth
New York City recently started unveiled a $277,000 anti-advertising campaign against the use of soda. $277,000 in a city which has an alarming budget already is such a hefty price tag that one cannot help but ask oneself is it that important? Is soda that bad for you? Is all of this talk about pounds, calories and health problems legitimate? Coca-cola and Pepsi try hard to keep you from seeing that side of the issue; but the fact is, soda is just terrible for our health and Pepsi-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola co. Do whatever it takes to keep the health risks as far from your mind as possible.
Coca-Cola is known for many seasonal advertisements; advertisements which have almost nothing to do with the product itself in regard to quality or taste. They attempt to attach themselves to things such as seasons or yearly events. Coca-cola comes out with collector edition Easter bottles for spring, and they advertise the refreshment of coca-cola in the hot summer days, but by far their most notable advertising campaigns come out in what is known as “Christmas season”.
Since 1931 Coca-Cola has been on its mission to become the image with the christmas season. It was in this year that Santa Clause was first seen in various magazine ads. Since 1931 Coca-Cola has become synonymous with the Christmas season. They have advertised and sold almost anything you can associate with this great American holiday. Why not? It is the season of spending and gifts after all. If there would be a time for someone to buy a useless “collectors item” Christmas would be that spend happy time of year. Though it is common conception that Coca-Cola created the image of Santa Clause, all Coca-Cola did was popularize him, and secure him his distinct red and white colors. Before Coca-cola began to use Santa he was viewed wearing green suites as well but now because of this vast advertisement, Santa is known for his jolly red coat. It is Coca-Cola though, that really seems to enjoy year in and year out its attachment to the legendary and seasonal figure. He is anywhere and everywhere in the time period from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. He is first seen at the end of the ever-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then on street corners and movies everywhere. It is hard not to feel the great holiday spirit when good ‘ol St. Nick is everywhere. Since It is Coca-cola that has artificially attached Kris Kringle every time one sees him, subconsciously the thought of Coca-Cola always appears in ones mind.
Santa Clause is not the only legendary commercial figure which has been created from the massive advertising campaigns of Coca-cola in the christmas season. The cute and cuddly Coke polar bears are figures that are adored by all. America is a very multi-cultural community after all, and even though having a christian based figure like Santa Clause may attract an audience of young and old, it still ignores many cultural groups. It is these polar bears that every person regardless of religion or race that everyone loves. Commercials for these polar bears too have nearly nothing to do with the product of the popular drink. A great commercial example of this is a video in which Penguins are seen dancing to music and the polar bears viewing from afar. It is a mother, father and an as cute as can be, baby polar bear. The baby then clumsily slides down the hill upon which they were watching this party of penguins and lands right in the middle. Awkward silence follows until a baby penguin presents to the baby polar bear what seems to be a nice cold Coca-cola in its traditional glass bottle. After opening the soda, the party resumes including the polar bears. This advertisement again does not address the taste or any factual part of their product but instead tries to say that by drinking Coca-cola you can bring people closer together than could ever had imagined.
Coca-cola is not the only company that attempts to advertise heavily in order to keep their product afloat; Pepsi-cola, Coca-cola’s premier rival attempts to do the same in very similar instances. Pepsi instead of using yearly holidays chooses to use sports as a whole year round to do the base of their advertising. They fight wars with Coca-cola to be the “official sponsor” of baseball teams, use beautiful women who attract to the average male sports viewer, but in even more outlandish circumstance, they have provided two minute and a half commercials in two separate years during the most viewed event of the year…the superbowl. It is the moment in which they combine the women and the sports and the event in one massive package. A prominent figure for Pepsi-Cola in past years has been the very beautiful pop star Britney Spears. In 2002 the at the time twenty year old sex symbol stared in a one and a half minute commercial music video during the Super Bowl. It was a commercial unlike any other seen at the time and turned many heads in the process. The video begins in what seems to be a storage room with Britney’s back facing the camera. She then turns around and evocatively takes off her coat to show a quite revealing top with jeans that are meant to for a lack of a better word “accent” her figure (image shown to the left) The video proceeds as any other music video would with her as the sexy dancer in the center among a legion of dancers in the background. Her visually suggestive act was bound to attract the attention Pepsi-Cola desired. Britney also starred in Pepsi-Cola commercials with the slogan “the joy of pepsi…for those who think young”
By Pepsi-Cola using beautiful women in their commercials like Britney Spears or the countless other models and actresses who show up in Pepsi and Diet Pepsi’s advertisements may greatly attract to the audience of teenage and pre-teenage girls. It starts them thinking that if Britney Spears or the many other beautiful women in these advertisements could drink Pepsi and still be so beautiful then they could too. She, after all, is seen in these commercials drinking and enjoying Pepsi-cola and at this time was also the spotlight and central sex icon in pop culture.
Role models like Britney Spears are very prominent in soda ads like the ones done by Pepsi, and so are the feelings like togetherness and holiday warmth attempted to be brought up by Coca-Cola. These advertisement are meant to try and get their very large audience to think of these beverages as something that is positive. Every year these two rival companies try to out-do one another by coming out with more and more outlandish advertisements. They compete for official sports team endorsements, super-bowl commercial spots, magazines and billboards. One thirty second commercial spot for the superbowl costs a listed three million dollars. Pepsi not only aired one, minute and a half commercial (nine million dollars) during the superbowl, but did it in three separate years. Coca-cola Company has reported having a global advertising budged of one billion dollars a year and thirty seven percent of that is being spent in American markets. If anything it must bring up questions of what are they proving? and more over what are they hiding?
The artificial attachments to feelings, role models and times of year are exactly the only way that the Coca-cola Company and Pepsi-Cola Co. could stay successful. They are hiding behind these massive expenditures because they know the harm that Coca-Cola and Pepsi can do to a persons body. Side effects from drinking too much soda include: Obesity, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, reduced kidney function, and dental erosion. I mean who doesn’t remember the elementary school experiment of dropping a tooth in a cup of soda and watching the enamel on the tooth decay in a matter of weeks?
Phosphoric Acid and caffein which are both very common ingredients in cola based sodas like Pepsi and Coca-Cola are major culprits for both the osteoporosis and the dental erosion. Phosphorus, which is an important mineral in our bones, when consumed disproportionately with calcium can be detrimental to the density of ones bones. Caffein on the other hand is not a chemical which will eat away at your bones, but it will reduce the amount of calcium that your bones can intake. Research shows that women who consume three or more beverages of cola day had a 4% decrease in bone density in their hip.
Studies have also shown that may lead to a substantial decrease in the function of a woman’s kidneys. A recent study sampled about three thousand women with a median age of 65 between 1989-2000 and tested to see how their diets effected their bodily functions in comparison with one another. At the end of the study 11.4% of the women suffered a decrease in kidney function of 30% or more. When looking at the thirty percent’s nutritional habits, what was consistent was that the entire block of women consumed two or more diet sodas a day.
Studies also link cola drinks to type II diabetes. A major ingredient in both Pepsi and Coca-Cola along with caffein and phosphoric acid is high fructose corn syrup. Studies have linked high fructose corn syrup, which is exactly how it sounds, high in fructose which is very high in sugar made from corn syrup. This constant ingredient in cola has been proven to lead to type II diabetes by causing high blood glucose and raise the risk of insulin resistance.
Finally and arguably most detrimental to our American society is the correlation between these beverages and childhood obesity. This is where my anti-advertisement shown above stems from. Though at first glance this picture may inspire you to laugh or at least giggle a little the issue it addresses is a very serious one. The obesity rates in this country are rising dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of children from the ages of 6-19 are overweight or obese. This statistic has tripled in the past twenty years. According to a study done by harvardscience.edu, for each additional serving of soda per day a childs chances of being obese increase 1.6 times. We have to stop the bleeding as it is and really get the message across that allowing a child to drink excess amounts of soda like Coke or Pepsi can be detrimental to the child’s health.
The anti-soda campaign in New York City may total $277 million but that is in the contrast of the billions that these two companies pay each year to advertise their product. They try as hard as possible to get the public to ignore the very serious health effects that drinking Coca-cola and Pepsi can cause. Along with trying to get the public to ignore these effects, they try and lure in new and future customers who are very easily influenced. Santa Clause and Britney Spears may be two iconic figures in the world, but its just difficult be able to feel a warm heart toward these companies knowing what their product does to their consumers.
- Doheny, Kathleen. “Diet Sodas May Be Hard on the Kidneys” – November 2, 2009 http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20091102/diet-sodas-hard-on-the-kidneysSampey,
- Kathleen. “Coke’s Marketing Budget to Rise by $400 Mil.”- November 11, 2004 http://www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/4147988-1.html
- Shaw, Gina. “Soda and Osteoprosis: Is There a Connection?” -http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/soda-osteoporosis