Coca-Cola moves with the health-conscious times…and abuse takes to the road

Perhaps it’s because we are sliding into the silly season, but I really have not seen anything this week which has irked me enough to hand out an Onion. And, I’d rather not devalue my critical currency, the Onion, by handing it out just because you expect me to be bitchy.

However, for only doing half a job this week, I will start off by awarding myself half an Onion. And I will work a lot harder on my grumpiness, I promise … To compensate slightly, there will be two Orchids this week.

This first goes to Coca-Cola, for its print ads, which broke this week, and which deal with the tricky issue (for a maker of sweet soft drinks, anyway) of sugar and healthy diets. Soft drinks with sky high sugar contents have been fingered as some of the prime culprits in the soaring rate of obesity. And, while soft drink companies have already introduced low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives, they are still trying to fight government efforts to control their industry.

This week’s ads have a clever pun: Different Cokes for different folks. That is an opportunity for the company to explain that it is always looking for healthy alternatives, without losing the unique flavours of its products. It’s simple and it’s clever and it’s tactical, and it does the job. So it gets an Orchid.


However, I can’t help but remember, as I noted a few weeks ago, that the company’s reduction in the size of its containers seemed to be more about profit than health considerations, no matter what they said at the time.

The Western Cape government has already got a few Orchids from me for its road safety campaigns, executed by FCB Cape Town under the banner of “Safely Home”.

The latest is timed and angled to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children. FCB says the ad is intended to show the similarity between violence towards women and children and aggressive driving. So we see a woman who, at first, appears to be a victim of domestic violence. Her words reinforce that impression.

“Something inside him just snaps. He won’t listen to reason.” “ I just have to sit there and take it…” And then: “ but this time he totally lost control …”

She has a battered and bruised face and her tears flow.

She then explains that she was told that if he was driving any faster, she would not have survived. It becomes clear that we are looking at an accident survivor.

However, the kicker lines which follow emphasise: “There are many forms of abuse; aggressive driving is one of them.”

Then, comes the slogan #ManUpSlowDown, which makes the point that being a man is not about driving fast – or hitting women.

It’s not pleasant to look at but it hits home. So more Orchids for the Western Cape government and FCB Cape Town.

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