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
Photo credits: Thinkstock
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