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ParticipACTION Sells Out to Coke

ParticipACTION Sells Out to Coke
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If you are looking for an example of strange bedfellows, look no farther than Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of Canada’s physical activity and sport program, ParticipACTION. The program’s vision is “to work with its partners to ensure a Canadian society where people are the most physically active on earth.”

Good idea, and what is one of the things physically active people do more of? Why, drink liquids, of course. And what should we encourage them to drink?

The answer depends on what you really hope the program’s outcome will be. If you are a company that sells fizzy, sweetened beverages, your answer will probably not be water, no matter how much you want to burnish your corporate responsibility image by encouraging healthy lifestyles.

So when Coca-Cola teamed up with ParticipACTION to launch Sogo Active, some eyebrows shot skyward. One pair of those eyebrows was on Hal Johnson, the BodyBreak show’s creator and host (along with Joanne McLeod).

ParticipACTION used to help fund BodyBreak, but that did not stop Johnson from Tweeting, “I am disappointed that Participaction has partnered with Coke, it doesn’t fit no matter how much money they are getting.”

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a family doctor and Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa wanted more than a 140-character response to the partnership. So he interviewed Hal Johnson for his Weighty Matters blog. Johnson had this to say about Coca-Cola’s role:

It sends out a mixed message, and it doesn’t fit with the brand and Coke gets the halo effect of the ParticipACTION brand. It’s an iconic brand and they benefit from it.

Next: Undermining the Healthy Message

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44 comments

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7:19AM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

2:30AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

Drink water if you're thirsty - NOT COKE!!!

6:30AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Coca-Cola doesn't only sell soda. They also sell water - Dasani. I can understand that upfront this partnership looks a bit wonky, but once you really examin, it's not that bad.

2:57AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Minute Maid makes juice for Coke.

2:44AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Anyone out there who still thinks that "Coca Cola"is into philanthropy for the good of people,should read "The Coke Machine"by Michael Blanding published 2010/ISBN978-1-58333-406-5 ! It is truly horrible what this company has been doing in India and South America to push its unhealthy products onto poor people,while depleting the local water tables,on which subsistence farmers depend! Paramilitaries have been used against union workers trying to get better wages and conditions,while the company makes billions in profits.I made a pact with myself never to drink another Coke ever again,because I couldn't live with myself if I did!

6:59PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

If everyone stopped drinking soda the worlds health would improve drastically.

6:03PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Seems like a very bad choice.

1:34PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

@Jamie C... You have not been reading the right reports.. Did you know that Coke is addictive. So is Pepsi. They are like smokes. Once you start drinking them you can't stop. I know I am addicted and so was my late husband.. He died from over indulgent pop drinking. The taste is great. The lasting effects are devastating. I have been trying to break the Coke habit for 20 years unsuccessfully. I stopped smoking easier. I am forever craving Coke. I wonder why that is.? So yes its bad for you. Great drink but not good for dehydration because that doesn't work in my opinion. Just years of cravings I haven't wanted and don't want anymore but can't get rid of.

12:44PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

I really like coke.

12:42PM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

Grazie

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