In its new “Come Together” campaign, Coke has — intentionally or not — put itself at the front of the country’s obesity epidemic. It’s a conversation that the company can in no way control so rather than go on the defense, Coke has decided to step up and become a part of that conversation. Like the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em….
In a recent Ad Age post, Jonathan Salem Baskin suggests the following:
Coke should scrap the conversation nonsense of its web campaign and focus on substantive, detailed communication of its activities. The idea that it can or should own the issue of obesity in America is stupid. It’s not Coke’s problem, though well-intentioned advocates for healthful eating would be happy to make it so. By asking viewers of its video to “come together” — again, the ending suggests the start or continuation of a conversation — the company is volunteering to step up and say (or do) more. It should focus instead on providing more truthful, direct talk about how its consumers can best enjoy its products. The campaign should resemble an extended users manual and not one side of a PR debate that the company can never control or win.
However, some critics believe that in the long-term, these ads could do more harm than good. Another Ad Age piece by Brian Steinberg, shares the opposite opinion.
I don’t believe obesity is Coke’s problem, but a lot of people would like to make it so. Since Coke can’t control or win the debate, I think what they are doing is right on target. They are still advertisers. And they need to support their brand in a way people will enjoy, not “Truthful direct talk…an extended user’s manual” etc.
What do you think? Was Coke right to address the issue or should they have just kept quiet?