Among other disreputable acts, the Coca-Cola Company has been accused of co-opting and corrupting the music industry. They started hiring singing stars, wrote Ryan Alexander Diduck, as far back as 1900, with a cabaret singer named Hilda Clark (pictured). In 1964, Canadian vocalist Bobby Curtola hit the bigtime with a song titled “Things Go Getter with Coca-Cola” that is described as “both a commercial song and a song commercial.”
It was also recorded by Roy Orbison, the Supremes, Otis Redding, and other artists. Diduck went on to say,
What Coca-Cola introduced was the concept of adapting their jingles to as many musicians as possible. Coke even released a record of these various iterations in 1966, and the corporate jingle became a mainstay on radio, television, and in film for decades afterwards…
Then in 1984, there was Michael Jackson’s notorious Pepsi commercial. Musical purists accuse these practices of weakening the entire art form. Critics in another area say that members of minority groups are “targeted, recruited, and objectified” in this way, because compared to white kids, black children are about twice as likely to see soft drink ads on TV.
Red Bull seems to be the leader in figuring out new strategies to reach kids, by sponsoring breakdancing competitions, video game tournaments, and extreme sporting events. The writer describes the company as “micro-targeting the so-called ‘unreachables’ — the emerging, tech-savvy, and highly profitable millennial generation of consumers that most industries regarded as beyond the grasp of conventional advertising,” and goes on to say:
Red Bull never commissioned a musician to sing a Red Bull jingle or contracted an artist to be their celebrity spokesperson. Instead, they devised insidious ways to harness themselves to grassroots communities that were already in full trot, infiltrating music scenes like a virus instead of simply co-opting them.
Diduck also points out that since the 1990s, the marketing of tobacco and alcohol to minors has been tightly controlled. Despite many people’s belief that sugar is an equally serious threat, the soda industry enjoys a benefit equivalent to a hunting open season, when it comes to targeting children and teens, and soft drink corporations “exhibit the very essence of predatory behavior.” Diduck writes,
Reach them while they’re young, addict them to sugar, caffeine, addict them to addiction itself, addict them for life.
No matter how admirable the Olympic Games may be for philosophical reasons, there is ideological pushback from critics who see the Coca-Cola Company’s sponsorship of the Olympics (since 1928) as just as sneaky and underhanded as using music videos by pop stars.
When the Coke wrote up its sponsorship proposal for the 2016 global competition, it appears to have had the blatant intention of brainwashing teenagers and mothers. It is seen by suspicious groups as part of the gigantic public relations campaign whose goal is to shift public consciousness from the input side of the energy exchange theory, to the output side.
In other words, the beverage industry and the junk food industry have a very significant vested interest in convincing people that it really doesn’t matter what they ingest. They would like us to believe that every ounce of blame for overweight, obesity, and any related form of ill health rests solely on the individual, for not getting enough exercise. Just in case their advertising efforts cannot convince us of that, they have been pressuring the World Health Organization to tell us it’s true.
The organization U.S. Right to Know teamed up with scholars from Australia’s Deakin University to produce a paper that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The research they did convinced them that Coke had the specific intention of teaching teenagers that sugar-sweetened beverages have no health impact. If children and teens gain weight, it is their own fault for not skipping enough rope or playing enough basketball.
Coke’s stated hope is to “cement” its brand’s “credibility in the health and well-being space,” while numerous individuals and groups throughout the world are saying, in effect, that train has left the station and that ship has sailed.
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Source: “From Coke & Pepsi To Red Bull, How Fizzy Drinks Swallowed Music,” TheQuietus.com, 10/31/19
Source: “Coca-Cola internal documents reveal efforts to sell to teens, despite obesity crisis,” WashingtonPost.com, 12/18/19
Image source: Public Domain