Coca-Cola launches antiobesity advertisements

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 23 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f494

Re: Coca-Cola launches antiobesity advertisements

It is unclear whether Coca-Cola intends to broadcast anti-obesity advertisements on UK television. But should it bother? The Department of Health for England already promotes the multinational company and other soft drinks manufacturers as part of the government’s “Public Health Responsibility Deal”. In the latest press release for the Responsibility Deal [1], Public Health Minister Anna Soubry explicitly names and commends “leading” soft drinks brands whose manufacturers have made a “pledge” to reduce sugar and calorie content. Although the BMJ did not report her announcement, other media did. The consumer brands and manufacturers were prominent in the media reports: the print version of [2], for instance, had photographs of the soft drinks.

Freud Communications, a consumer marketing agency, is responsible for the department’s public health campaigns. [3] Perhaps it is therefore unsurprising that the government is involved in the marketing of sugar-sweetened drinks to consumers.

1. Department of Health. Sugar and calories cut in soft drinks. 2013.
2. Boseley S. Sugar content cuts to Lucozade and Ribena leave campaigners unimpressed. Guardian 2013 Jan 23.
3. May ACW. Health campaigns entrench the role of celebrities in consumer marketing. BMJ 2012;345:e6904. (17 October.)

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 January 2013
Alex C W May
independent researcher
Manchester M13 9DP, UK