If one is to be asked about the most well known or recalled brand, chances are that Coca Cola or Coke, as it is fondly known as, will appear very high on the list. The brand is iconic and the drink is much loved. Therefore, I was rather taken back to see the latest media ad of Coke released in US that was sent to me on WhatsApp by a friend of mine, who is very active on social media. The ad starts with concerns on obesity and that how more than 600 beverages produced by Coca Cola Company were contributing to this worldwide concern. It goes on to further say that even diet, zero calories, low sugar versions of these beverages were equally harmful and the only way out is to stop consuming these products. WhatsApp post also eulogised the Company for having such large heart to advertise its own funeral!
I smelt a rat and immediately searched google to ascertain the fact. Immediately, it could be inferred that there was a fake coke ad doing rounds in the social media that was a perverse edition of the original ad. The original ad indeed begins with the concerns on obesity and harmful effects of direct consumption of sugar but then goes on to highlighting all the measures taken by the company to reduce the negative effects. The ad highlights all the initiatives – zero sugar, diet version, smaller quantifies, reduction of sugar content in beverages, encouraging school children to have water and juices instead of beverages etc that Coke has undertaken to make the drink safer and more fun to have. The company is also supporting physical exercises initiatives.
Currently, an ad is doing rounds on FM that how we should avoid forwarding a forwarded message without verifying the contents and the ad ends with a tag line- ” let’s spread happiness on WhatsApp not rumours”. My respect for Coca Cola Company has gone up several notches for this awareness campaign where they actually run the risk of tapering sales! My salute to this iconic company and its brands for this initiative that shows the way to other large companies about social responsibility. Simultaneously, it reaffirms my belief that unless social media is used with responsibility its impact can be disastrous and bizarre. We all, the users of social media, must take it upon ourselves to forward a message only after checking its auntheticity as wrong information or knowledge spread across the society can be detrimental to the cause of society.