How Coke Is Fighting ‘Big’ Soda Ban

Coca-Cola stockCoca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and other makers of sugary beverages are using messages of freedom to fight New York City’s proposed super-size soda ban.

A new coalition, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, is a major component of the public relations initiative that intends to turn attention from obesity to individual freedom. The group, led by the American Beverage Association, plans to get aggressive.

Last week, the organization released it’s first emotion-driven radio spot, The New York Times reports. The ad featured NYC residents and cheering Mets and Yankees fans.

“This is New York City; no one tells us what neighborhood to live in or what team to root for … so are we going to let our mayor tell us what size beverage to buy,” asks the narrator.

In addition to launching an online campaign that extends to traditional media outlets like radio and other venues, the group is recruiting local businesses (restaurants, movie theaters, etc.), unions and lawmakers to join its cause.

Although he’s not an official member of the coalition, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has clearly stated his disapproval of the proposed ban.

“I just think it’s government run amok. Government run amok,” Christie said in an interview on ABC’s Nightline when asked about the ban. “People have to make choices. Sometimes they’re going to make good choices, sometimes they’re going to make bad choices. But I don’t think we should have a daddy state.”

While Coca-Cola isn’t the only soft-drink maker participating in the campaign, it does appear to be one of the most active members in the initiative. Coca-Cola Refreshments is listed on the coalition’s member list, whereas Coke’s long-time rival, PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), is represented only by Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of New York.

James F. Thompson raised some interesting points about why Coke needs to carefully execute its involvement with the campaign. You can read his thoughts at PRNewser.

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