Coca-Cola really wants consumers to associate its sugary soft drinks with healthy habits and has been paying bloggers and so-called experts to suggest a can of coke as a smart snack, the Associated Press reported.
A Coca-Cola spokesman said that nearly all big brands engage in this practice and compared it to product placement in television and movies.
“We have a network of dieticians we work with,” said Ben Sheidler, who would not say how much the company pays experts. “Every big brand works with bloggers or has paid talent.”
Examples of the Coke-funded content include a post that recommends a “refreshing beverage option such as a mini can of Coca-Cola” and another that suggests “portion-controlled versions of your favourites, like Coca-Cola mini cans…”
Coca-Cola released a statement saying that it wants to “help people make decisions that are right for them” and wants to “help bring context to the latest facts and sciences around our products and ingredients.”
One dietician who was paid by Coke to write an article promoting the soft drink defended herself by saying that the smaller cans of cola are a better way for people who drink soda to do so responsibly, AP reported.
“I absolutely think that I provided valuable information,” Robyn Flipse said, adding that she would have said the same thing even if she was not paid by Coca-Cola.
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