Sunday, August 10, 2008

Taking "The Real Thing" a step too far

Given increasing concerns about nutrition and obesity--especially childhood obesity--these are hard times for soft drink companies. So what's a company like Coca-Cola to do? Well, according to this New York Times story, the folks at Coke think it's time to share a few details about their secret recipe. Little did we know, however, that one of the most prominent ingredients is bullshit:

In a campaign introduced last month in Britain, Coke divulged a few facts about the formula. It has “no added preservatives or artificial flavors.” Its mastermind, Dr. Pemberton, selected “the best spices from around the world"...


“When we talked to consumers about Coke, we realized they didn’t know that it has no added preservatives or artificial flavors,” said Cathryn Sleight, marketing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain. “We felt it was important to reassure Coke drinkers of this fact.”

Now I don't know about you, but "reassure" seems like a bit of a stretch. The point isn't whether anybody is losing sleep wondering if there's anything "unnatural" in their soda. Isn't it more likely that Coca-Cola may be trying to subtlely infer that Coke isn't as bad for you as all those empty calories might lead you to believe?

Here's a simple rule: don't try to fool people into thinking your product is something it's not. It doesn't work and it makes consumers lose faith in your brand. After all, if you're overstating one thing about your product, why should I believe that everything you say isn't overstated?

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