Thursday, July 5, 2012

Will using Olympic athletes help Coke beat Bloomberg?

You have to give credit to Mayor Bloomberg for bringing attention to the huge amount of calories in large sugared beverages.  While 16 ounces of Coke contains 200 calories, a 32 ounce Big Gulp (with ice) contains approximately 364 calories while the 44 ouncer weighs in with a whopping 512 calories – about ¼ of a full day’s allotment for most people. (Sugar Stacks, 2009)

Coke has decided to fight back by using their Olympics advertising to link Coke to a healthful lifestyle.  (Hall, 2102)

I guess my first question is “How much Coke do those athletes consume daily?”
What do you think?  Will this campaign convince you to keep gulping?

(2009, July 7)  Sugar Stacks.  Retrieved July 5, 2012, from
Hall, E. (2012, July 3) Coke Uses Olympics as Link to Healthful Lifestyles.  Retrieved July 5, 2012, from


  1. It's one thing to say that Coke is part of a lifestyle. Moderation being key. It's a whole other thing to call Coke healthy and link it to the Olympics. I don't drink Coke unless I'm outside the country or very rarely at home with a pizza or a burger. It cuts the grease. The image of a rusted penny and coke always lingers in the back of my conscience.

    Despite not being a coke drinker for the most part I have a feeling that Coke's advertisements will be convincing. They're light, bubbly and fun. It's hard to resist that, especially in the summer.

    Jee Young

  2. I’ve seen this commercial and I simply don’t think that a professional athlete will grab an ice cold coke after running the 100 meter race.

    I’ve been to the US Olympic training facility in lake placid and the food/beverage options there are all prepared with the athlete's health
    and conditioning as the number one priority. So for that runner finishing the 100 meter race, I do see them drinking a cold aquafina.

    Secondly, my son is an athlete in training and he hasn't touched a soft drink in four years only because of the high sugar content. On
    the other hand I’ve been drinking cola products (coke/Pepsi) since a kid and one can easily see the effect of drinking sugar product over a
    long period of time - changing drink choices isn’t easy
    While I support coke's corporate plan of supporting athletes and the us team, I think placing water or other hydration product other than a high sugar product would be more realistic and send a better message to the audience. However, coca cola is their lead product and it makes sense that they would place that at the end of the ad I just don’t accept the connection between athletes and high sugar products.


  3. "We have a timeless commitment to enhance well-being in all of its forms. Encouraging people to get active, and providing them with opportunities to do so, has always been at the heart of our brand values."

    - Katie Bayne, President of Coca Cola North America

    When I hear this statement, Coca-Cola is not the brand that comes to mind. I am not a soda drinker to begin with, so the ads will not influence me whatsoever whether they contain Olympians or Couch Potatoes. If I were a coke drinker, however, I can almost guarantee that I will not be drinking coke to fuel my healthy and active lifestyle. Perhaps it'll be my favorite mixed drink, an afternoon caffeine/sugar pick-me-up, or even breakfast; but it sure won't be my go-to drink during exercise.

    I think that Coke already has a good angle in this campaign. As Ms. Bayne assures, "Through these personalities we are able to provide fans with a closer look at both the Olympic Games and Team USA, emphasizing the values of community, connection, support and patriotic optimism."

    To me, that's an acceptable and probably successful angle for Coke. Everyone knows Coke is full of sugar and chemicals that harm our bodies. Still, people drink it because they find pleasure in drinking it (some say they are even addicted to it). So in my opinion, don't pretend to be a healthy drink, and don't try to pretend like you are part of an active and healthy lifestyle. Instead, emphasize community, connection, and patriotic optimism - it's a good enough campaign on its own, and it's not an obvious lie.



  4. Coca Cola has never found a place in my diet or my life ...ever. My father who is a member of the silent generation has never been part of the coke or pepsi cola battle. He has and always we be above that sugared civil war.

    Mayor Bloomberg has made a great awareness about the amount of sugar and calories that comprise the tasty beverages that many Americans consume more than once in a 24 hour cycle. I don't thank him for much but I do think that this campaign about sugar is something that needs to be acknowledged by his supporters and his critics.

    Coke and other cola based beverage conglomerates can try to contest the NYC awareness of sugared beverages but it is very simple turn the bottle around and look at what you are putting into your body before you drink it. THAT IS THE POINT OF NUTRITIONAL FACTS!

    Coke is going to have a hard time trying to link its cola beverages to a healthy lifestyle when for example phosphoric acid leeches calcium from bones of the human body. I doubt many runners especially female will be linked to this healthy lifestyle change made by coke.

    This attempt by Coke to link a healthy lifestyle to their toxic beverage will only succeed by exploiting the stupidity of humanity and buy the rest off with their deep pockets.


  5. At first glance, it appeared to me that by using teen athletes and making their advertisements fun, and bubbly, Coke’s was targeting teens. On the other hand, Olympic viewers are older than gen Z. Most of the viewers will be gen X and baby boomers, which is the population already addicted to the sugary drinks. This leads me to believe that the Olympic campaign two fold:
    1. a reinforced message to the current soda drinkers that despite the apparent “challenges” they can overcome any obstacles and perhaps drink coke and still have a healthy life.
    2. teens on the other hand will view the advertising as a sense of freedom and will disregard the health damages.

    Although I don’t think it’s believable that athletes drink coke as their energy drink my feeling is that to some extent, Coke will be linked to maybe not “healthy lifestyle”, but “active lifestyle” in the consumer’s minds.

    As far as media is concerned, they have certainly chosen the right tools for their audience. In addition to the traditional media, they launched an interactive campaign using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.

    I feel the campaign will be successful at defying their critics, such as Bloomberg in that it will generate additional revenue for the company.


  6. It seems disingenuous to use athletes to promote Coke. I doubt that these athletes use Coke daily or even regularly. I wonder how companies (and their lawyers) circumvent the issue of using spokespersons or events, such as the Olympics, to promote products that are not conducive to the spokesperson’s lifestyle.

    I am not influenced by most commercials, so this campaign wouldn’t affect me (new technology and gadgets usually garner my attention). I believe that Coke is attempting to sure up their base with this campaign. Those who are already against Coke will not be affected. Interestingly though, Coke’s attempts to link their brand with a healthful lifestyle will give their supporters more ammunition for their pro-Coke arguments. In essence this is not their “buy Coke” campaign, this is their public relations campaign (similar to BP, after the oil spill). They are telling customers, “We know we are high in calories, BUT we support healthy lifestyles… ask our friends at the Olympics!”


  7. While I certainly don't believe that athletes in training consume soda as part their daily diet, Coke has every right to advertise and sponsor the Olympics. Coke has been a sponsor of the Olympics since 1928. On July 10th, International Olympic Committee president released a statement saying, "the IOC hugely values the long-term sponsorship and support of both McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Through the years we have personally witnessed the positive impact that they make as TOP sponsors."

    For as long as I can remember, 'unhealthy' brands have used athletes to sell their products. As a child, I saw Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in a shoot off for a McDonald's Big Mac. Top athletes regularly appear on the front of a Wheaties box. Sure, 1 serving of Wheaties is roughly 100 calories, but eat the entire box and you're over 1/2 a day's allotment.

    It comes down to personal responsibility. Each individual must decide for themselves how much of a product to consume. Just because you can buy a 44oz Big Gulp, doesn't mean you should. For that matter, you also shouldn’t be drinking a venti Caramel Macchiato that contains 300 calories and 4.5g of saturated fat. I’ve yet to see the uproar over Starbucks.

    You think people would be motivated to exercise and eat right by seeing top athletes from around the world compete at the highest level in the Olympics. Maybe the focus should be on the 2 weeks of competition and not the 30 second commercials in between.

  8. Partnering with 2012 Olympics is a way for Coke to implement strategic brand image. It's important to promote and advertise the Coke to enhance its image in a positive way; therefore, Beverage Company must find events that will be highly covered among media and watched by the public at large. Nowadays, consumers are conscious of what they consume whether it's good or bad. So, it doesn't matter if today's top athletes isn't consuming a sugary beverage like Coke but poses with it just for branding opportunities and to increase sales is what drives the beverage market. Furthermore, we know they're getting paid to endorse items but they're presented a cool-factor to drinking a beverage like Coke. According to article, Advertising Age, Katie Bayne, president and general manager, sparkling beverages, Coca-Cola North America, claimed via email, "We have a timeless commitment to enhance well-being in all of its forms".


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