Marketing poison

[Swede Synopsis: Multiculturalism good thing. Advance to comment section.]

CokeThis falls under the “Why am I not surprised?” header, but the truth is, I am surprised. One of the nicest moments during the Superbowl was a rendition of America the Beautiful sung in many languages and including a woman in head garb. Zounds! There’s a controversy now among the small-minded, but about the wrong topic.

It was sponsored by the biggest pusher of high-fructose corn syrup in the world, the Coca Cola Company. HFCS is just another form of sugar, and as the name states, has higher fructose-to-sucrose ratio than table sugar. The body does treat fructose in a different manner than sucrose, but for us non-scientists, it helps just to think of it all as “sugar.”

Science journalist Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, suggests here and there that sugar ought to be classified as a poison. While apples may not be harmful, perhaps even beneficial in some manner, drinking a glass of apple juice is the equivalent of eating four apples at a sitting, literally dousing the body with sugar. A 20 ounce Coca Cola is the equivalent of eating four glazed donuts – neither is good for us, but somehow Coke evades the spotlight while donuts are criminalized. How many Americans now start their day with four glazed donuts a Coke?

When New York Mayor Bloomberg tried to limit soda sizes, he was quickly demonized, and no doubt there were board meetings in Atlanta about how to respond. The usual bullshit about how market choice trumps good public policy won out, and Coke still flows in huge quantities there. “Information” is unwelcome in our “free market,” while advertising can hype any kind of shit and call it Shinola.

In Mexico, now officially the most obese country in the world, the government’s response to its health crisis has been to urge people to limit their daily intake of Coke. No doubt there are board meetings going on in Atlanta. Those death merchants, those high-profile sponsors of obesity and diabetes, are worried again about their freedom to market their poison. NAFTA means that corporate privilege trumps good public policy in Mexico, just like here.

But it was a nice ad. No doubt they intended to stir up a controversy. As long as the name is spelled correctly, the Coca Cola Company will reap millions in free advertising from a single paid one.

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