There’s this macabre joke about a guy who kills his parents and then at the sentencing asks the judge for mercy because he’s an orphan. The junk food industry is using a similar ploy – slowly but surely ruining the health of billions of people around the globe, but then buying sympathy by spending a pittance of its marketing budget on donations to various “health” causes.
Don’t believe us?
Take the Coca Cola Company, for example. The liquid candy behemoth has annual global sales of $30 Billion, and makes a net profit of $10 Billion dollars. Coke will spend $11 billion dollars in marketing just in 2012!! This include commercials, ads, event sponsorships (London Olympics), and more.
In a press release from yesterday, we learn that the Coca Cola Foundation is donating $10.5 million for global sustainability and education campaigns. Here’s how part of the money is being allocated (and what it really means, in italics)
- $3.2 million for active, healthy living – Because everyone knows that 12 tsp of sugar in a can of Coke won’t make you fat; you can simply burn those calories off jogging for 75 minutes.
- $2.9 million for water stewardship – because setting up bottling plants in over-exploited desert areas in the third world makes perfect sense.
- $780,000 for community recycling – Because it’s not Coke’s fault that 73% of plastic bottles don’t get recycled.
Had enough? There’s more!
The $630,000 earmarked for “education” is the most troubling in our mind:
- American Diabetes Association is getting $200,000 for education outreach into the Latino community and several metro areas.
- American Dietetic Association is getting $100,000 to expand its Kids Eat Right campaign .
This is simply unfathomable. How can the American Diabetes Association in its right mind take money from the company that contributes the most to this terrible disease? More than 20 million Americans suffer from Type 2 diabetes, and most of them acquired it from overloading their bodies with junk foods and drinks. Liquid candy like Coke shares the responsibility. Another 75 million Americans are well on their way to diabetes because of excess consumption.
Please, please, please, don’t bring up the “moderation” angle, or tell us that there are no bad foods (drinks). Sugary soft drinks cannot be consumed in moderation when they are pushed into our faces with $10,000,000,000.00 worth of marketing spend every year.
Do you really think a measly education pamphlet or 30 minute community center class has a chance against the marketing might of Coke’s top notch ad agencies?
Coke has paid less than a hundredth of a percent of its marketing budget to buy the silence of these organizations and their leaders. How can they now be firm and adamant when they shook hands with Coke executives and took their money?
The American Dietetic Association has an annual budget of around $100 million. Does it really need to take money from Coca Cola?
UPDATE: Ryan O’Malley, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (now know as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) emailed us with the following response:
…to say that Coca-Cola’s donation is buying our silence is just factually inaccurate and irresponsible. To demonstrate, here are several examples from the Kids Eat Right website itself encouraging families to limit and stop their consumption of sugary beverages and soft drinks.
You just cannot honestly say that their support buys our silence, as we always have and will continue to encourage consumers to reduce and even omit sugary beverages from their diet.
What do you think?