Coca-Cola has released a new anti-obesity advertisement that encourages consumers to exercise before drinking a can of Coke.
The ad, called “Happy Cycle,” says that “a Coke used to cost 5 cents.” It then asks, “But what if a 12-oz. Coke cost 140 calories?”
According to the commercial, it takes 23 minutes of riding a bicycle, on average, for a 140-pound person to burn off the 140 calories that are consumed in one can of Coke. One hundred and forty pounds is only 56 pounds lighter than the average American man, and 26 pounds lighter than the average American woman, Adweek notes.
The video then shows mostly fit young people on a giant stationary bike in front of a crowd pedaling off the 140 calories to earn a Coke. The phrase “Movement is happiness” followed by, “Where will happiness strike next?” appears at the end of the video.
Health critics have continued to criticize Coca-Cola’s marketing and its role in the rise in obesity, but the beverage company says it’s all in good fun.
“This is a light-hearted, down-to-earth message,” says spokeswoman Judith Snyder, according to USA Today. “There are fun ways to burn calories.”
“We want to be very clear that this is not at all a dig at nutritionists but a fun, lighthearted way to present this message,” Snyder adds.
Coca-Cola first addressed the issue of obesity in a TV ad last year, but it was done in a serious tone, the Associated Press reported. “Happy Cycle” is part of the brand’s “Where Will Happiness Strike Next?” campaign, which was launched four years ago.
“All calories count and we want to help our fans and consumers better understand the role of energy balance in their lives,” said Wendy Clark, president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing, Coca-Cola North America, in a statement on the company's website. “This film is a lighthearted, engaging and memorable way to do just that.”
Laura Ries, president of the brand consulting firm Ries & Ries, felt the ad could backfire by stating how much physical activity is needed to burn off a can of coke. Others say 23 minutes is not enough time to cut those calories.
“Their suggestion that you would need just under 20 minutes to burn off the calories in one 12-ounce can of Coke is absolutely absurd,” health and fitness expert Tim Taylor told USA Today.
The ad will be promoted on Facebook and Twitter, but will not run on TV.