For about a century, soda companies have been telling us that their products are the best way to do everything from quench your thirst to celebrate the holidays.
Coca-Cola, especially, has set the tone by equating its product to happiness ("Have a Coke and a smile"); world peace ("I'd like to teach the world to sing"); and the true meaning of Christmas (Santa and some adorable polar bears seem to love the stuff).
As a kid, we were given soda in school. Not as a treat, but as an alternative to milk. There were soda machines in the hallways and, just in case I didn't have enough of the sugary substance, my mother would put a can of coke in my Brady Bunch lunch box -- along with my baloney on white bread and package of Twinkies. Standard lunch for a child in 1970's Brooklyn and the start of what would become a struggle to stave off the start of obesity (or what my Jewish mother would always call "a little baby fat").
What was once ignored, but what we are getting into our thick skulls
now, is that ingesting massive amounts of sugar is extremely bad for you. And -- guess what? The main product in soda is
According to its website,
a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola contains 240 calories with the secondary
ingredient being high fructose corn syrup (the primary ingredient is
carbonated water). While soda is fine as a treat, most Americans consume
soda daily with many fast food restaurants offering portions much
larger than that 20 ounce bottle. Consuming that much sugar can lead to
tooth decay, diabetes, and heart disease.
The soda companies are
large. And global. Coca-Cola is a major sponsor of sporting
events, amusement parks, and family television shows like American Idol (though I suspect that there might have been a little rum in Paula Abdul's Coke).
On safari in Kenya, Masai warriors were drinking Coke at our tented
camp. That's a big reach.
So how does one counter the large soda companies? With a little creativity. In this instance, the Center for Science in the Public Interest,
a lobby group that's trying to fight the soda giants, hired Miami
advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky to come up with an animated
video. The creators of the creepy new Burger King enlisted the help of
singer/songwriter Jason Mraz to come up with an original song and they
used a happy polar bear family to tell their story.
this time, after the happy polar bears slide down the ice hill on their
tummies and enjoy a refreshing cola, they suffer a few health hazards
-- like being too fat to fish, getting type-2 diabetes, and having
trouble "getting it up" in bed.
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Poor bears....but a really catchy tune (and a good message).