This Coca-Cola commercial highlights Coca-Cola’s efforts to combat the “epidemic” of “obesity” and unproblematically links weight to amount of calories consumed to health. The ad states, “All calories count, no matter where they come from, including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories.” Any other factors influencing health and weight are thus erased, Coca-Cola portrayed as healthy as long as you drink it lite, in an example of the equation of “’lightness’ with health” that Hesse-Biber criticizes (68). As Wann states, “health is not a number but rather a subjective experience with many influences” (xiii). The ad, however, does not consider that factors such as nutritional value, rather than simply calories, may be more important for health, and does not broach the question of whether the lite drinks are truly healthier, or if the process of making them “lite” may have made them more dangerous. The human diversity of body shapes and weights that Wann points out is also ignored, “obesity” portrayed as something that must be fought (by everyone) – the implications here may extend to an encouragement of harassment of fat people under the justification of concern for their health and for “the health of the nation”. Moreover, the advertisement of smaller portion sizes and labels of calories on the front “to make it even easier for people to make informed decisions” comes off as extremely paternalistic, as well as further reinforces the misleading notion that calories are directly correlated with health. Due to the lack of accurate information regarding health, weight, and the nutritional values of Coca-Cola products provided in the ad, it seems that Coca-Cola, in fact does not want consumers to “make informed decisions” – perhaps because that would mean losing a large part of its customer base.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. The Cult of Thinness. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
Wann, Marilyn. “Fat Studies: An Invitation to Revolution.” Foreword. The Fat Studies Reader. By Esther D. Rothblum and Sondra Solovay. New York: New York UP, 2009. Ix-Xxv. Print.