The Erosion of Empathy
The first time we saw a starving child on a late-night TV ad, we were appalled. Maybe we sent money. But as these images became more familiar, our capacity for compassion waned. Eventually these ads started to annoy us, even repulse us….
Expose The Hidden London - March 16th (by TheRulesOrg)
There was a lot of Coca Cola in the news this week after a new TV commercial launched. The ad explains Coke’s concern for the obesity epidemic, listing all the low-calorie choices Coke offers and citing their “new thinking on innovative things like no-calorie sweeteners.”
AdWeek critiqued the ad as a “surprisingly ham-fisted answer to the latest attacks on the soda industry from public health crusaders like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Alex Bogusky-aided, polar-bear-amputating Center for Science in the Public Interest, which wasted no time calling Coke’s new campaign ‘just a damage control exercise, and not a meaningful contribution toward addressing obesity.’ …It’s easy to imagine the marketing bogeyman holed up in a windowless room, tapping his pen against his forehead as he tries to come up with the most Machiavellian way of making Coke look good on this issue.”
The clever, catchy video from CSPI shows a polar bear who loves Coke (don’t they all? it’s just like the commercials). But he drinks too much of the stuff and ends up with Type 2 Diabetes having to amputate his foot, lose teeth, and be diagnosed with ED. CSPI’s head of communications Jeff Cronin told AdAge that they’re reclaiming the polar bear, whose majestic but hapless species was “cynically co-opted by Coke.” The tagline in this other video released in response to Coke’s campaign is, “Coca Cola: we’re partially responsible for America’s obesity problem.”
Coke’s second new ad entitled “Be OK” features several ways to burn the 140 calories in a 12oz can of Coke. The ad is absurd (it takes a long time to burn 100 calories by wiggling around a dance floor), dishonest (not all calories are gained and burned in the same way), and manipulative (communities face very different challenges in food knowledge and access). In the words of FoodPolitics.com, “Oh, please.”
But it’s still a sign of what’s changing in big business. In a FastCo Exist article this week, Cheryl Davenport of Mission Measurement explains the importance of this shift in Coke’s marketing. ”If Coke is a bellwether for consumer mega-brands,” she says, “Then gone are the days when such companies can use feel-good philanthropy to distract consumers from the real social issues affected by their business. Consumers—with the help of stakeholders and activists—drove this change by demanding transparency, holding charity aside, and making product choices based on, well, the products.”
Damage control or a sincere socially conscious contribution?
AdAge published an article today that discusses the changing roles of celebrities in the branding world. As early as 1890, brands have used celebrities to sell more of their products; however, this article brings up the interesting point that today, celebrities are more than just a…
Is this true also for charities or just commercial brands?
Ad Age Presents the 2013 Digital A-List
Welcome to Ad Age’s Digital A-List, where we honor the people, companies, products and things changing the way we think about digital.
- THE ONION
- THE WEATHER CO.
- NATE SILVER
- FIRST ROUND CAPITAL
- GOOGLE APPS
- 3-D PRINTING
- SAMSUNG GALAXY