Coca-Cola Would Like To Teach The World To Move

Coke's anti-obesity campaign gets consumers around the world up and moving.

By Published on .

Coca-Cola, one of many companies often blamed in the obesity debate, is taking a decidely active turn in its marketing around the globe to adress the issue. Alongside its stream of happiness-themed work, the beverage giant has produced ads promoting a "calories in, calories out" message in highly creative ways -- from charming to downright deceptive.

Wendy Clark
Wendy Clark

While obesity is a pronounced problem in the U.S., it's not yet as prevalent in all corners of the world. According to a Harvard analysis, more than 30% of the U.S. and Mexico are obese, but in countries like China, India and much of Africa, that figure is less than 10%. In France, Italy and Brazil, the figure is between 10% and 20%. Still, with obesity rates quickly rising -- according to the World Health Organization obesity has nearly doubled since 1980 -- it's in Coca-Cola's best interest to get out ahead of the issue with a global approach to ads promoting movement.

"Coca-Cola is the most ubiquitous and inclusive brand, so the world's challenge becomes our challenge," said Wendy Clark, senior VP-global sparkling brand center at Coca-Cola. "We have to have discreet and visible ways to demonstrate we care. . .We want to put our marketing prowess and muscle behind it."

"We have to get people moving, even in countries that may have less of an obesity challenge," Ms. Clark said. "We know we can deliver that message and…inspire teens to move through our marketing."Ms. Clark said that 20 of Coca-Cola's markets have already embraced advertising messages that encourage consumers to get moving, while another 20 will soon follow. The company also has 280 of what it calls "active, healthy living programs" in 115 countries. Those programs range from Copa Coca-Cola, a middle school soccer tournament, to America is Your Park recreation grants.

Here, some of Coca-Cola's most intriguing ideas to get consumers moving.

Magic Pills
In Europe, wanna-be pound-droppers came across a mysterious newspaper ad touting a free magic weight-loss pill. But those who wanted it had to travel far and wide -- and past unexpected obstacles like staircases, barking dogs, damsels in distress and grannies with packages to carry. Turns out, they were all part of a big prank from Coca-Cola, created out of The Cyranos/McCann Worldgroup, to make the point that just a little bit of effort does more for your waistline than a convenient pill.

Happiness is Movement
The Cyranos/McCann Worldgroup was also behind this lively animated film directed by Johnny Kelly, the man behind the celebrated feel-good message from Chipotle, "Back to the Start." In this spot, Coke's happiness mantra ties directly to the idea of being healthy. An uplifting tune and whimsical animatronic images look back on a man's joyous moments--from meeting the love of his life to conceiving his child, posing the chicken-and-egg themed question -- are you happy because you move, or do you move because you're happy?

The Healthy Elevator
In Spain, SCPF Barcelona and Coke pulled a fast-one on mall-goers with a revolutionary new elevator. We won't spoil the surprise, but trust us, it's amazing.

This poignant, split-screen tale created out of David, Buenos Aires for the U.K. market juxtaposes the lives of two men -- one from yesteryear, and one from today. The man from the past lives a healthier lifestyle, full of smart food choices and routine exercise, while the modern-day gent would fare worse at the doctor's, thanks to his poor diet of processed and microwaved foods and his sedentary work and commuting habits. In a surprise twist, you'll see how their lives connect, and to whom we should be turning for healthy life lessons.

Calorie Dictionary
In this spot out of McCann and directed by Everynone for the Canadian market, Coca-Cola puts a fun calorie-counter on our everyday activities -- another reminder that happiness is about keeping that blood flowing, sometimes in the simplest of ways. More of Coca-Cola's anti-obesity activies can be seen on the site.

What If
Coke pulled a Facebook with this mysterious spot out of Publicis Spain, starring a mysterious race who claims an irresistible power over humanity. Who are they? Wait for it. . .chairs! The somewhat silly scenario sets the perfect stage for people to -- um -- stand up, to the sedentary overlords.

In this article: