Coke takes on aspartame critics

By Quentin Langley   

An interesting battle here, which Coke probably doesn't need to fight. It has started using print ads to defend the reputation of aspartame, a widely used and entirely safe chemical which critics claim causes cancer. Aspartame is a sweetener used in place of sugar in low or zero calorie drinks.

It seems unlikely that Coke is going to talk around its critics. People who have rejected the results of peer-reviewed studies are not likely to be persuaded by a print ad from Coke. There may be some persuadables, but a high profile campaign such as this will raise doubts with people who have never heard the scare stories. 

It would be better, I would think, to focus on the power of story-telling. For example, they could produce a film about the advantages of diet drinks, with stories from people who have lost weight. Excessive weight, of course, is a genuine health risk. They could drop in testimony from the scientists who have done the peer-reviewed studies as part of telling the wider story. 

Check out the article in Ad Week for more details but, in particular, read the comments. I was expecting the religious fervour of Coke's critics and, especially, the moronic over-use of exclamation marks and writing the word 'chemical' in upper case letters, to just prove that it causes cancer. I was a bit more surprised by the similar fervour showed by Coke's supporters:

You're the liar what you have said about Coke is a lie and smear without facts or proof. Coke has never told a lie there [sic] always right. Pepsi sucks they have always sucked plus it make's you ill unlike Coke which is the real thing.

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