In the fake ‘Honest Coca Cola’ ad doing the rounds on the internet, the narrator goes through a litany of diseases the 125 year old drink can cause (teeth rotting, obesity, heart disease etc etc). The ad concludes: “If you choose to live a healthy lifestyle, then you should not be drinking any of our products”.
I get it. If you drink a lot of soft drinks, you’ll get fat, and possibly very sick. Obesity causes death and costs a lot of money to treat. The thing is, I really like Coca Cola, and as much as I understand there is is a serious obesity epidemic, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with the soft drink disappearing from supermarket shelves. The ad is important – it raises awareness about the dangers of consuming products with no nutritional value that consist almost entirely of high fructose corn syrup. But telling everyone that “The solution is simple: Don’t drink Coke” is, well, pretty simplistic. I’m able to stick to roughly one can of Coke a week and I’m generally pretty healthy. I really don’t see why I should have to stop drinking something I really like because lots of other people are incapable of doing things in moderation (same applies to any other ‘dangerous’ product – alcohol, cigarettes, junk food etc etc). I don’t advocate the massive exposure these products get through multi million dollar ad campaigns, and they should definitely be kept out of schools. But an outright ban would be just as bad, punishing people who enjoy a cold glass of Coke every once in a while.
Is there a solution to this? Thoughts?
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.