Coke, Pepsi's New Global Commitment on Advertising to Kids Called Weak
Statement of CSPI Legal Director Bruce Silverglade
May 20, 2008
Coke and Pepsi are proving that it's hard to adopt a strong anti-obesity policy when your core products are major causes of obesity.
The global commitment announced today by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and other soft drink companies to stop targeting advertising to children under 12 is based on a weak policy followed in the United States, which suffers from one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the world.
Coke and Pepsi never did heavy-duty direct advertising to kids under 12 in the U.S., but instead marketed to American children through other means such as advertising on TV programs viewed by families. The results have been disastrous for childhood obesity rates in the U.S. Instead of mimicking the U.S. policy worldwide, the companies should have agreed to the stricter curbs demanded by the British government and to an International Code of Marketing of Foods and Beverages to Children that has been proposed by consumer organizations world-wide.
CSPI is leading a Global Dump Soft Drinks Campaign that encourages consumer groups and governments to reduce the consumption of soda, the only food or beverage shown to promote obesity. In addition to stopping advertising to children, the campaign advocates smaller container sizes, reduced accessibility, warning notices, calorie labeling on restaurant menu boards and vending machines, and small taxes on soda that would fund health campaigns.