Coca-Cola Pays Health Experts to Recommend Sodas

By Dominique Fortes,
Domestic News Assistant Editor

Recently, it has been discovered that Coca-Cola has been trying to revamp the negative image of its unhealthy drink by paying experts, who are referred to as “paid talent,” to recommend Coke minis to their blog readers.

The company’s justification for its actions was rather concerning to many people. They claimed that they weren’t the only ones participating in what one may be tempted to refer to as semi-fraudulent actions. Rather, such “advertising” is an industry norm that often goes unnoticed by the public due to the various subtle forms it takes.

In some instances, large companies use adulterated studies to support their claims. The paid “consultants” have said that they have no regrets about their claims because they fully believe in the claims that they make.

Critics believe that these newfound beliefs were sparked by Coca-Cola’s large advertising budget, which has not been disclosed to the public.

Fortunately for Coca-Cola, many consumers are prone to believing such advertisement. Coca-Cola is relying on this to boost its falling sales.

Much of the decrease in sales has been due to a fairly recent focus on a healthy lifestyle.

To combat the new hostility against sugary products, Coca-Cola, took advantage of American Heart Month in February to have their paid experts write positive articles concerning their product.

Most of these articles were not overtly complimentary. Rather, they cleverly hinted to their audience that Coca-Cola, when consumed appropriately, could be healthy for individuals. There were a few articles that implied that the mini-cans could even be considered part of a balanced diet.

To the average reader, an article written by a dietician is considered very credible. Coca-Cola is appealing to the ignorance of the public about subtle disclosures that they use to indicate that these articles are meant for advertising.

Disclosures include referring to the expert writers as “company consultants” or identifying the article as “sponsored.” Recently, there have been quite a few similar situations. In fact, per Money Talks News, companies like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “recently gave Kraft Singles…a thumbs up to use its new ‘Kids Eat Right’ nutrition label.”

Evidently, this label does not identify the product as healthy. Rather, “the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft singles packaging identifies the brand as a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right.”

To the average consumer, this label can be misconstrued as indicative of a healthy product. It seems as though many of these companies are trying to intentionally mislead consumers in order to increase sales in a decreasingly profitable business.

Coca-Cola, specifically, defends its sales strategy, saying that because the aforementioned disclaimers are mentioned in the advertisements, what they are doing is acceptable.

The Star Tribune attributes this new sales strategy to recent campaigns against obesity. More specifically, this newspaper claims that Coca-Cola is taking advantage of the fairly believable statement that “its mini-cans [are claimed to be] a guilt-free way to enjoy cola.”

The claim continues, stating that by charging more for smaller cans of soda, Coca-Cola is making more of a profit than usual.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 24th print edition.

Contact Dominique at
dominique.fortes@student.shu.edu

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