My Bike

Burn & Earn a Can of Coke in 23 Minutes

The folks at Coke have a new ad on the Web to tell us that it takes 23 minutes on a bike to burn the calories in a can of Coke. It’s not at all clear that they’re helping themselves with this one.

We asked a representative sample of adults how the message of this ad makes them feel about Coke and the net of our initial analysis is negative. On a scale ranging from ”dislike it much more” to “like it much more,” 45% reported disliking Coke more. A similar number (39%) indicated that it made no difference. Significantly fewer (16%) said it made them like the brand more.

Coke Ad Results

Why are they doing this, then? Wendy Clark, President of Strategic Marketing for Coca-Cola in North America, said, “All calories count, and we want to help our fans and consumers better understand the role of energy balance in their lives. This film is a lighthearted, engaging and memorable way to do just that.”

Naturally, the folks who are campaigning to blame soda for all the ills of the American diet see evil lurking. “It’s so clever on so many levels, but it’s twisted too,” said Michele Simon, an attorney who is a vigorous critic of the food and beverage industry.

Laura Ries, president of the brand consulting firm Ries & Ries, isn’t so sure it’s clever. “They’re showing exactly why you wouldn’t want to drink a Coke. Twenty-three minutes on a bike is not fun for most people,” she said.

Our view is that Coke is doing some good things, but this isn’t one of them. Telling people to get off their behinds so they’ll deserve a Coke isn’t a very compelling message. It comes across as a transparent effort to shift the conversation away from nutrition. Both physical activity and nutrition are important. And nutrition is Coke’s business. They should stick to their own business.

By participating in the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, Coke is playing a constructive role in removing empty calories from the American food supply. They’re selling more and more low and no calorie beverages.

But these ads are a counterproductive effort to change the subject.

Click here to read more from AP and The Blaze, click here to read more from USA Today, and click here for the ad on YouTube (in case the link above didn’t work).

My Bike, photograph © Chris Isherwood / flickr

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