Remember the jingle “I’d like to teach the world to sing,” which promoted peace and harmony in the Vietnam era by buying the world a Coke? Well, now nutrition activists have created their own jingle, written by pop star Jason Mraz in an attempt to inspire soda drinkers to pour that sugary cola—they don’t mention Coke by name—straight down the drain.
Despite being a cartoon about bears with Mraz singing “sugar, sugar, you really make me happy,” it’s creepy not heart-warming, especially when they amputate papa bear’s foot after he develops diabetes.
The folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the nonprofit nutrition grassroots group that released the Real Bears video, have been kvelling over the response; it’s been viewed more than 1.3 million times over the past week—and not just by journalists reporting on it, though the group couldn’t resist quoting USA Today as calling it “the video that Coca-Cola does not want you to see.”
The video’s creater Alex Bogusky, a well-known advertising executive whose former agency created ads for Coca-Cola, certainly stuck a stick in the eye to his former client. What, did he not realize Coke had sugar and calories when he made ads for them a few years ago?
Coca-Cola fired back that they were vehemently opposed to the new video. “This is irresponsible and grandstanding and will not help anyone understand energy balance,” Coca-Cola spokeswoman Susan Stribling told USA Today. “It also distorts the facts while we and our industry partners are working with government and civil society on real solutions.”
I think Stribling could have clarified her argument by making the point that our current obesity problem and rise in diabetes wasn’t caused by a single food, nor will it be cured by a single solution. The video certainly makes it seem as if colas are to blame for everything from erectile dysfunction to unemployment, but in creating a distortion similar to the original teach-the-world-to-sing video above, it certainly sends a powerful message.
Watch the video ad above and the one below and tell me you think is more convincing.
Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.