If You Love The Bubbles, Set Them Free

Now, I am not a huge soda drinker.  I do have the occasional Sprite when I’m out for dinner, or Coke when I’m feeling reminiscent of my time abroad in Latin America, but I really don’t drink it all that often.  Maybe it’s because I’m a college student on a pretty strict budget and don’t have room for both Nutella and Pepsi in my diet.  But one thing I did grow up with, and have become more of an active drinker of now that I am out on my own, is sparkling water.

Within the past two years or so make your own carbonated drink machines became a more desired product.  A recent commercial by SodaStream (the leading company in make-your-own-soda) brings into question the competitiveness of SodaStream verses Pepsi and Coke, the worlds leading soda companies.  The commercial below was not shown during the SuperBowl as CBS rejected it.  With Coke and Pepsi being two of the biggest advertisers during the game, perhaps CBS didn’t want to risk their support.  SodaStream now has posted on their website “watch the SodaStream commercial they wouldn’t let you see during the big game”.

The commercial starts with two delivery trucks pulling up in front of a grocery store, one for Pepsi and one for Coke.  The deliverymen load up their carts and race to get to the door first, but before they have the chance their bottles explode and with a cut to a handsome man in a dark room, as he pushes down on SodaStream a voice intones, “with SodaStream, we could’ve saved five hundred million bottles on game day alone”.

SodaStream seems to have a lot going for them.  They are targeting sustainability in their use of reusable containers, saving money by making your own soda at home, and in a day in age where many people are questioning the health factors related to sugar sweetened beverages carbonated water looks pretty good.  You can make your own soda with this machine with added sweetened packages, but according to one YouTube video I watched they contain half the amount of sugar per serving than a normal liter of Coke.  Many people are also buying the SodaStream just for carbonating water.

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It is a pretty smart deal for SodaStream.  The consumer makes an initial investment on the machine (about $80), and then has to refill the proprietary air tanks and if you’re making soda the SodaMixes, both of which you can buy at Target and Crate & Barrel.  I don’t know if it’s totally worth the money, but I do think that they are going to give Coke and Pepsi a run for their money.

With both of these two companies running on persuasive advertising, not necessarily new inventive products, and expensive costs SodaStream might be the semi- affordable switch consumers are willing to try.  Being able to make your own soda at home takes away some of the mystery soda implies, and if you can make it at home why buy it ever again?

NP 4/30

Open Happiness

Coca Cola wants to make the world a little happier.  Their advertising campaign “open happiness” has been around for some time now, but it was not until recently did I become aware of their unique and seemingly very popular guerrilla marketing technique, the happiness machine.

A creative twist on the standard vending machine, Coke began their mission to “spread happiness” at St. John’s University in New York.  It not only dispensed free bottles of Coca Cola, it gave out flowers, pizza, and a six foot long sub generating one million views in the first week and more than five million views on YouTube today!

Want to get an idea of what this magical vending machine did to a seemingly normal day at St. Johns?  Watch the video below…

After St. Johns they continued to bring this magical machine to many other college campus’s across the U.S. as well as around the world stopping in Singapore, India, Buenos Aires, Indonesia, and London – just to name a few!

I can’t help but be pretty impressed by Coke’s ingenuity in this project, and am personally drawn to their advertisements supporting their creative machine.  However I do not think that they have totally sold the rest of my age group, who some have labeled “the millennial’s”.

Public Relations Society of America states that millennial’s ages 23-36 “place high value on social responsibility, sustainability, and local, organic, grass-fed and hormone-free dishes” and tend to go for “higher-quality products and lots of choices”.

With this definition, Coke may not be the millennial’s number one beverage choice.  Coke has a reputation of pushing heavy duty sugary drinks and there has been a lot of discussion about how sustainable they really are (lots of plastic within their bottles…).

On the other hand, millennial’s areimage.axd very Internet and social media savvy.  Having grown up with the Internet we like our information to be fast freely flowing, and Coke has done a good job keeping up to speed with innovative technological promotions, such as their new idea to have two users see each other and touch hands virtually through one of their special vending machines.  I consider myself to be a millennial and one thing I value is being a citizen of the world. The idea of connecting people across the globe is pretty cool (and current), and relates to my personal values.

I have to say, I am normally very opposed to Coca Cola’s schemes, but the happiness machine did work for me.  I caught myself smiling while watching videos of people accepting their free gifts… and did kind of wish they had come to my college campus as well!

WP 4/19

I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly

Beyonce is back! In a new commercial for Pepsi Beyonce gives us a preview of her new song “Grown Woman” while revisiting some of her previous music video persona’s through the mirrors of her dance studio.

As much as I obsess over Beyonce (yes I do have a Crazy In Love poster in my room and am having a Beyonce themed birthday party) having her be the spokesperson for Pepsi (after signing a $50 million dollar deal) makes me a little upset!  As a strong, powerful woman, and the role model to many girls, Beyonce has the power to persuade many people across the globe.  And for some time she was using her power for good as a spokesperson for the first lady’s health campaign “Let’s Move”.

In this music video, which has been shown in elementary and middle schools across the country, Beyonce revamps her classic “Get Me Bodied” and leads a cafeteria of students in a heart-pumping workout.  She looks great, and embodies a healthy and athletic persona, which may be close to the true Beyonce!  She even takes a bite out of an apple at the end of the scene, obviously making apples the desire of every little Beyonce fan in the world (including me).

However in this new commercial, after she breaks it down in typical Queen Bey form, she takes a long sip of REGULAR (not even diet!) Pepsi.  I’m sure that Beyonce drank a ton of soda after having a baby and still managing to look like this….

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According to a press release from PepsiCo the new commercial will be appear in more than 70 countries worldwide and be scene by over 1 billion people worldwide.  With such a massive global impact I had hoped Beyonce would not sell out and would think of how her promotional activities directly influence her fans.  The Harvard School of Public Health has stated “a typical 20-ounce soda contains 15-18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories” and “people who consume sugary drinks regularly – 1 to 2 cans a day or more- have a 26% change of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks”.

I am deeply disappointed in Queen Bey, and hope that the millions of young people who love her so are aware of the dangers of the consumption of sugary drinks.  What do you think, did Beyonce sell out?

NP 4/9

Canada Dry – Soda From The Earth?

Who knew that soda grows in the ground?  I sure didn’t.   But in a recent Canada Dry advertisement showcasing their signature Ginger Ale, a little girl running a farm stand straight up pulls a bottle ginger ale out of the earth!  Seeing that her farm stand is getting popular she takes to bigger measures and ends up pulling an entire truck filled with bottled ginger ale out as well and feeds her happy customers with soil grown soda.

Now though this advertisement does enhance their slogan of “Real Ginger, Real Taste” it is quite misleading when it comes to how much ginger really is included in their soft drink.

Real ginger does grow under ground like carrots, and grows a nice long stalk and can produce very pretty red flowers.  Though traditionally ginger drinks contain a lot of ginger, Canada Dry’s version doesn’t even list ginger on the ingredient panel.

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When I looked into this I found some of Canada Dry’s frequently asked questions.

Q:  Why is Made from Real Ginger” stated on Canada Dry Ginger Ale packages?

A:  Consumers told us that they wanted a carbonated soft drink made with natural ingredients, like real ginger while still delivering Canada Dry’s great ginger ale taste. Canada Dry has always been made with high quality, natural flavors— we are highlighting what consumers want to know.

“Consumers told us”.  By directing the question onto the consumer Canada Dry is reframing the blame of how much real ginger (cough none cough) is in their product.

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Q: Why isn’t real ginger listed on the ingredient panel?

A: Real ginger is part of the natural flavors in the ingredient list.  Flavors are grouped together in the ingredient line under the umbrella of “Natural Flavors” to protect Canada Dry’s proprietary formula.

How interesting.  You’d think that a company that shows their soda coming straight out of the earth would have ginger featured on their ingredient labeling!  Another question…

Q: How much real ginger is in Canada Dry Ginger Ale?

A: That information is part of our proprietary formula and is not divulged.

If Canada Dry refuses to tell their consumers how much real ginger is in their product, who is actually going to believe that there is ANY ginger going in?

NP 3/26

The Real Bears

The iconic Coca- Cola bears aren’t too happy in this video.  “The Real Bears” is a slightly shocking animated film about soda from the point of view of a group of polar bears whose health decline with their increased intake of sugar sweetened beverages.

The film, which goes along to Jason Mraz’s song “Sugar”, was created by the Center for Science and Public Interest and is an entertaining way to go about attacking our nations obsession with sugary beverages.

With the bears drinking more and more soda, they start to deteriorate.  One even has to get a leg amputated…

The Center for Science and Public Interest breaks up the film with short facts stating the “truth” about sugary drinks.  Some facts such as “drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%” and following with “diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction” are disturbing and cut right to the cord of how harmful soda can be.   These logical inserts add a powerful educational and influential spin on this highly publicized topic.

The use of these facts intermingled in the comedic, yet haunting film, is an effective way to attack the problem.  The bears keep you entertained, yet truly are influential as they get diabetes, loose their sex drive, as well as their limbs all because of soda.

Every move in the film is well calculated and relevant to today’s discussion of sugar-sweetened beverages.  With New York City’s ban on super sized sugary drinks to the proposed sugar sweetened beverage tax, this film is yet another way of attacking what some think is a huge problem and one of the major causes of the obesity epidemic in America.

What do you think?  Are these bears helping fuel the fire or are they going to just be passed over by the millions of dollars that go into sugar sweetened beverage advertising?

NP 3/12

Coke, The Cure To Obesity?

About a month ago, Coca-Cola released a new commercial as a part of their “Coming Together” campaign.  Aimed at addressing the role sugar sweetened beverages have on the nations obesity epidemic, the two minute advertisement gives a short n’ sweet synopsis of the “good” that Coke has been doing to change how their company is impacting one of the nations biggest health issues.

Over fantastical images of America and Coca-Cola together, the advertisement tries to show how Coke has brought people together for generations.  The female narrator tried to tie the same comradery to coming together over solving the obesity epidemic in our nation.  Facts are shown describing their efforts to increase the number of low and no calorie drink choices available, their decrease of high calorie sugary drinks in schools, as well as the visible calorie content shown on the beverage label.

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However despite how they frame the issue, Coca-Cola isn’t eliminating or decreasing the amount of high sugar and calorie beverages they are producing.  Though they may be offering alternatives, it seems as though the advertisement is just pushing under the bridge their massive history encouraging sugary drinks throughout history.  And they are still trying to make money… perhaps this new advertisement is just another way to promote their beverage products?

Personally I think that the idea of Coca-Cola trying to persuade America that they personally are behind new inventive ways to decrease obesity is just laughable.  Nice try Coca-Cola, but you didn’t fool me.  What do you think?  Is Coke just trying to pull the wool over our eyes, or are they really trying to help America get healthy?

NP 2/19