Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is launching a counterattack over claims its sugary drinks contribute to the nation’s rising obesity problem.
On Monday night, the iconic soft drink and snack food maker broadcast a two-minute commercial on cable news stations, called “Coming Together,” in which it highlighted its low-calorie products and healthy beverages.
Anti-obesity campaigners weren’t impressed. The executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said Coca-Cola simply hoped to deflect political efforts to tax or ban sugary drinks and dismissed the ad as “damage control,” the Los Angeles Times noted.
Last year, New York City approved a ban on the sale of large cups of sugary sodas. That ban could take effect this year. Other cities may follow suit.
Both Coca-Cola and rival beverage-maker PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) are facing increased scrutiny over the calorie counts of their drinks.
In the ad, Coca-Cola noted that of the more than 650 beverages it makes, 180 have low- or no-calorie contents. It also pointed out that combating obesity was hardly its job alone and that consumers should be responsible and keep track of the calories they consumed and make healthy choices.
Shares of Coca-Cola rose fractionally in Tuesday morning trading.