Apparently Coca Cola is concerned about my health. How do I know? They told me so courtesy of a big red full-page ad in my city paper. They say “it’s our (Coke’s) responsibility to respond to changing times and issues that affect our community…with one of these issues being obesity…we’re committed to doing our part to help make a difference…” Nice spin. Some of the ways they are ‘making a difference’ include: smaller sized bottles (250ml portion); offering more low-kilo joule beverage options; providing transparent nutritional information in more places (on vending machines) and by supporting physical activity programs. At the end of the day, Coke is a black fizzy drink with 10g of sugar per 100mls (their Fanta brand contains 12.9g of sugar per 100mls) and its low joule options still contain all manner of artificial sweeteners including ‘Ace K’ and Sucralose. If Coke were fair-dinkum they would reduce the amount of sugar content across all brands (including Sprite, Lift, Fanta and PowerAid) and stop marketing to children particularly through sponsored athletes.

Apparently Aldi (supermarkets) are trying to poison me. Well not specifically me but my children. They’ve come under attack by parents and nutritionists for an irresponsible lunch box campaign. Aldi have partnered with the Healthy Kids’ Association to release a child-friendly app to use in store that works in conjunction with the app logo being placed on product shelves. The campaign features chips, lolly snakes, biscuits, high sugar drinks and other fat items. Parents from The Parenthood action group have started an on-line “Cut the Crap” petition to lobby Aldi to make make changes to their initiative.

Is Coke acting responsibly by promoting their pseudo benefits?….is Aldi acting in the public interest by encouraging children to choose unhealthy snacks…? The way I see it No. Is it against the law? No. Coke and Aldi have every right to engage in any marketing activity that is within the law governing promotional activity. Their goal is to make profit – after all, they are legitimate businesses paying tax. It’s my belief that they also have a community service responsibility to act in a way that doesn’t promote poor health or contribute to the obesity crisis that grips our population, particularly our children. This is why Coke, on their website, TELLS you that it’s drinks can be a PART (albeit small) of a balanced diet. And they’re right. A glass of Coke is fine here and there. Should it accompany your every meal? What do you think? This is where you must apply your filter….what I call the Bull S*#t Detector. Learn to know when food companies are spinning the PR. Sort the wheat from the chaff. Do I believe Coke’s strategy in fighting the obesity epidemic? Not for a second….do I drink their products? Not a drop. Does Aldi promote unhealthy snack foods to kids? Probably. Do I choose to participate I their ‘promotions’. Nope.

Know when marketing crap is just that; crap. Apply the filter. After all Coke and Aldi are just doing their job.