A multimillion Coca-Cola advertising campaign has been withdrawn and sanctioned in Mexico, in a move by the federal Attorney General for Consumer Protection in Mexico, following a complaint from El Poder del Consumidor. This is the largest and most important case of withdrawal of publicity in Mexico. Coca Cola has since removed thousands of billboard and internet ads.
In June, El Poder del Consumidor presented formal complaints to both the Attorney General and the federal sanitary authority (COFEPRIS) regarding this publicity, for being misleading / false advertising and a risk to public health. The complaint focused on the risk to health posed by promoting a greater consumption of calories, to be spent on different physical activities, given that the majority of the population (70% of all Mexican adults) already consume an excessive number of calories and suffer from a deficit of physical activity. The complaint also noted that the advertisement showed a 355ml glass bottle, which is not commonly consumed in Mexico, where a 600ml bottle is most popular.
A similar Coca-Cola
campaign has also been withdrawn in the UK. The 30-second TV ad featured various short activities that could be done to burn off the calories from the drink. It did not, however, specify that all the activities had to be done in order to burn off the “139 HAPPY CALORIES”.
Now, a petition in Brazil convened by the Brazilian Front for the Regulation of Food Advertising (Civil Society Organisations’ coallition standing by food marketing regulation) is requesting all Consumer Defense bodies in the country to take action and immediately impede the same misleading campaign.
To access and sign the Brazilian petition (English version), click here.
Adapted from: Consumers International, published on 25 July 2013