Media Still in Love With War on Soda

CPSI continued to wage war on soda and sugary beverages. In a new ad campaign they launched called TheRealBears.org, CPSI hired ad guru Alex Bogusky to construct an animation that parodied the Coca-Cola polar bears. It’s just the latest attack as part of the group’s longstanding crusade against soda. The difference this time is the attention USA Today paid to it.

The nation’s newspaper led its Money section Oct. 10 with “Video satire skewers Coke's polar bears.” The gimmicky video presumably “shows polar bears pouring their sugary soft drinks into the ocean.” The paper followed that with an interview of the creator two days later.

This ad even appealed to the culturally savvy, complete with a custom song written and sung by popular singer Jason Mraz. Mraz is often parodied on skits in “Saturday Night Live” and had a hit for 76 weeks straight on Billboard Hot 100 list in 2009. The ad depicted what will happen to these bears because of their soda consumption – things like erectile dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, and foot amputation. What a lovely animation to share with the children. Almost four minutes long, the last slide of the ad simply says “Dump the Unhappy!”

In the interview published in USA Today on Oct. 12, Bogusky outlined his intentions about partnering with CPSI to produce this ad. “We were once at a place where tobacco advertising could talk about how soothing it was for your throat or how doctors recommended it. We’re still in that place with soft drinks,” he told USA Today.

When asked if Bogusky’s ad is specifically an attack on Coke, he replied, “I’m very empathetic about the position that the beverage giants are in. For them to make their business work in the short term, it’s probably going to be part of making us sicker. That’s a tough position. Most corporations, by design, don’t allow for our personal humanity to come through.” Or Coke’s business model works because they produce a product that people enjoy That might be it.

Ironically, on Oct. 11, USA Today published an article on a CDC study that disproved CPSI’s entire premise for its ad campaign. According to the CDC study “the consumption of sugar found in regular soda has dropped from roughly 150 calories, a day in 2000 to 91 calories in 2008.”

CPSI had been relentless in its war against soda. In fact, they were one of the leading activists that led to the ban of soda in public schools in 2005. Many in the media praised them for their efforts and even provided a platform for CPSI’s director, Michael Jacobson, to speak. Jacobson called for warning labels to be put on all sodas that they can cause obesity on CBSs “The Morning Show.”

In 2006, ABC promoted CPSIs war against 7Up. Jacobson filed a lawsuit against 7Up for their advertising. “We’re saying the company should be honest with consumers and really honest in the marketplace,” accused Jacobson, as he stated that high fructose syrup is not a natural product; therefore, 7Up’s label was misleading.

CPSI had been all but worshipped by the media. When mentioned, CPSI is rarely, if ever, labeled as a liberal organization – they are consulted as experts on all things bad for you. CPSIs solution to everything is more regulation or taxation instead of allowing people to make choices for themselves on what to consume.