Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm Proudly Addicted To Diet Coke, Even Though I May Be Damaging My DNA

I find it really interesting how people wear their addiction to Diet Coke as a sort of badge of honor. I've read a few stories recently on how regular people need to consume large amounts of it every day, even though it rails against their core beliefs. Usually a vice like this is hidden away. Typically this would be an embarrassment to the consumer. This is not voiced from just regular folks though. Famous people brag of their Diet Coke addiction as well. Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Bobby Bowden and Harvey Weinstein all have boastful stories of their love for the soft-drink.

Then I read this story about how an ingredient in Diet Coke can damage your DNA, similar to what binge drinking does. At that point I tried to think of what other products could survive news as damaging as this.

I buy organic milk for my children because of the potential problems with "Milk Classic" from juiced up cows. What if regular old milk could damage your DNA? What if tap water impacted your mitochondria? Wouldn’t people stop drinking it and wouldn't there be an outcry to make it safe? Throw in the new Diet Coke Plus venture adding vitamins to the drink itself, pushing the idea that drinking it can actually provide health benefits.

How does Coca-Cola do this? Read these quotes from Coca-Cola themselves:
According to Coke spokesman Scott Williamson, Diet Coke Plus will be advertised with slogans that merely imply it's good for you ("Your best friend just got friendlier!") without making any health claims. To do otherwise, he said, "would reinforce the false notion that soft drinks are unhealthy to begin with."

A spokesman for Coca-Cola said: "We use preservatives in some of our products - particularly those that include fruit - to ensure that they remain unspoiled throughout their shelf life, whether people are able to store them in a fridge or not.

"Great taste. No calories. Wholesome ingredients. How could you drink too much?" said Diana Garza, the communications director of Coca-Cola North America.

"All our ingredients have been approved as safe by the food regulatory authorities in Britain and the EU and that is where we take our guidance from."

Storytelling is very powerful indeed. Having many spokespeople is the heavy-handed, old school version of viral content.

I'm wondering if the montage of pictures I posted above will be looked at similarly to the way we now view cigarette smoking in film from the 1950s.

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