Coke Rebrands As Part Of A "Healthy Lifestyle"

    A bold move by the soft drink leader, especially considering several recent scientific findings to the contrary.


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    The above is a new commercial via the U.K. titled "Grandpa (Living A Healthy Lifestyle)."

    The lovely bit of splitscreen nostalgia scored by the Tom Jones toe-tapper "It's Not Unusual" features one actor playing both parts.

    As the spot unfolds, you notice that 1950s Man's lifestyle is simpler and more active and his diet is healthier than Mr. Modern Man. He's just happier. As the ad ends, you discover that the men are grandfather and grandson.

    Here's an excerpt from Coke's press release about the spot:

    "The new Coca-Cola advert 'Grandpa' shows that the lifestyle enjoyed by our grandparents — moving more, eating well, taking it easy — can be beneficial. We're committed to using our advertising to raise awareness of the importance of energy balance and helping people to make informed choices. We believe it is just one of the ways we can help make more people aware of the need for a balanced diet and active, healthy lifestyle."

    I guess we can then safely infer that, since the ad is tagged with a Coke bottle (and a Coke Zero bottle), Coca-Cola would like to be a big part of this "active, healthy lifestyle."

    The timing on this new "healthy" push is very interesting.

    A widely-published study from earlier this year concluded that diabetes can be caused by high sugar intake alone, regardless of a person's weight. Specifically, it found that an additional 150 calories from sugar per person per day — the equivalent of just one 12-ounce soda drink — increased the prevalence of diabetes by 1% within that population.

    Coke brass have obviously decided that the best way to counter this study, and the recent rash of press about the harmful effects of even "normal" levels of sugar, is by running ads that suggest — if not outright claim — that soda is part of a healthy diet.

    Coke's marketing team must know that this is not at all an original approach for a soda brand.

    Their message is very similar to that of Pepsi's post-World War II "Light Refreshment" campaign. See examples at the end of this post.

    "Happiness Is Movement"

    Below is another ad from Coke's new effort, titled "Happiness Is Movement."

    It also debuted this week. It is quite the spot.

    This commercial uses animatronic puppets to deliver the happiness message. The closing copy — "Happiness Is Movement. Movement Is Happiness" — ties directly into Coke's global tagline: "Open Happiness."

    An innocuous little ad that is anything but.


    3. Coke was one of the biggest sponsors of last Summer's London Olympics. The poster ads slyly show athletes interacting with pieces of the iconic Coca-Cola logo.

    4. Pepsi "Light Refreshment" campaign.

    Coke's new theme felt very familiar. Take a look at the copy on the above 1950s Pepsi ads, part of a long running post-World War II campaign:

    "Look around this summer and see what sensible diet has done to make the American figure both trimmer and slimmer. This modern trend toward lighter, less-filling food and drink is clearly reflected in Pepsi-Cola."

    Today of course, no soda ad could get away with such claims, if not with the FDA, then certainly with an informed public.

    But Coke's new ads have the same feel as these old-timey, salad-days executions, don't they?