Three cheers for Coca-Cola

Coca Cola hit the headlines last week after pledging that they will no longer advertise to under 12’s anywhere in the world as part of a push to increase their market responsibility. This is just one of the four pledges that the brand has made to tackle obesity worldwide. Their other pledges are too offer low or no calorie options in every market, to provide transparent nutrition information, and finally to support physical activity programs in every country where they do business.

This news came as a very pleasant surprise to me! Last year during the Olympics I found it absolutely appalling that the likes of Coca Cola and McDonalds were allowed to sponsor the games. Moreover, not only did these two brands sponsor the games, but they were the two chief sponsors! Mcdonalds was being named 'The official restaurant' of London 2012. (Since when was Mcdonalds even a restaurant anyway!) Now maybe I’m wrong, but when obesity is such a serious problem in the UK it is highly hypocritical to have a sporting event, which aimed to ‘inspire a generation’ associated with two brands that are selling products that are known to be terribly unhealthy! 
I was lucky enough to visit Olympic Park for a day of athletics, and I was shocked to find that from pasties to fish and chips, almost every single food outlet was selling junk food. The McDonalds was by far the largest food vendor in Olympic Park, and to make matters worse, the queue was right out the door! Money had taken centre stage over what was right in the case of the Olympics, and I guess that it is hard to blame them. The Olympics was a roaring success, and maybe it would not have been if that money hadn’t come rolling in.

But when this news of Coca Cola broke, I couldn’t help but smile. One of the world’s biggest and most powerful brands was finally doing the ‘right thing’, and I certainly hope that there will be plenty more to follow suit! I am a firm believer in the snowball effect, and I really do hope that this is the start of something great. ‘Inspire a generation’ you could say. Do not get me wrong, I love a Diet Coke, and I’m certainly not saying that all fizzy drinks should be banned from the world. I just think that attitudes need to be changed, a consistent message must be communicated and that this issue must be addressed.

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