the pdf


the pdf
Soft and energy drinks are falsely associated to values or personal gains such as performance, strength, power, a cool
or trendy attitude, vitality, friendship, sharing, popularity, parties, etc.
to reveal the various traps or misleading messages in food marketing
1. Positive images borrowed from associated celebrities, causes or events
• The soft and energy drink industry spends enormous amounts on advertising and other forms of promotion (e.g. nearly $4 billion
for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo combined in 2004a).
• Companies project an image of popularity by associating their advertisements to celebrities and stars youths admire: athletes,
sports teams, singers, actors, comedians, etc.
- PepsiCo has been associated with 2010 World Cup soccer athletes and, in the past, with Shakira, Britney Spears (photo right),
Michael Jackson and Madonna; in Quebec, Claude Meunier (in the 80s) and Denis Savard (hockey) in 1990. Ads featuring
celebrities can be seen on YouTube.
- Red Bull advertises little but sponsors athletes in over 160 disciplines.b.
• Sponsoring sporting, musical or artistic events, and the resulting publicity, make it so that the product and brand are associated to
the qualities and values these events promote – for example, performance, sharing, harmony, pride, entertainment, fun, and in the
case of energy drinks, daring and thrills. (See INFO-PLUS.6: Sponsorship, a highly profitable investment).
- Celebration, pride, joy and sharing associated to the Olympic Games in Vancouver and the 2010 World Cup sponsored by
Coca-Cola. See the following advertisements:;;;;
- Daring, going beyond, extreme thrills in the numerous events created and financed by Red Bull in several fields in Quebec,
Canada and around the world (see box on next page). Visit their website to see the range of their activities and video
• The significant financing of various social projects (youth health and education, environment, community development) by PepsiCo
and Coca-Cola helps build a positive brand image by suggesting selfless generosity and the company’s concern for the health and
well-being of youths (see INFO-PLUS.6: Sponsorship, a highly profitable investment).
- This “responsible and charitable” image contradicts 1) all their other marketing practices that aim to increase youths’ regular
and frequent consumption of sweet drinks – unwanted behaviour from a health perspective, and 2) the general food
production directions these companies take, multiplying the quantity of junk food products on the market (e.g. Fritos and
Doritos chips and AMP energy drink belong to PepsiCo).
a) Rayner G, Hawkes C, Lang T, Bello W. Trade liberalization and the diet transition: a public health response. Health Promotion International, 21 (S 1): 67-74.
Online: (accessed October 12, 2010).
b) Haederli A (2010). Red Bull investit des millions dans le sport pour forger son image. November 27, 2010. Le Matin Dimanche.
Online: (accessed in November 2010).
- These philanthropic practices promote brand circulation among a greater number of youths since
- Many of these projects affect their daily lives (e.g. Club des petits-déjeuners, building playgrounds, scholarships,
summer camps)
- Spokespersons that youths admire are associated (e.g. Joannie Rochette, ambassador for the Ici c’est mieux Pepsi
project in 2010).
- Projects are strongly present in social media; for example, they hold popular votes (e.g. PepsiCo, enable the sending of virtual gifts and offer privileges that support projects
financially. For example, as part of its Live positively project on Facebook, Coca-Cola gives a youth club $1 for every
gift sent online to a friend; on the site, you can help save the polar bears by taking a survey
(November 2010) c ;
Athlètes et équipes sportives
Évènements sportifs extrême
Musique - Art - Divertissement
Slogan (2010)
• Dion Phaneuf
hockey – Toronto Maple Leafs)
• Sean Pettit
(Canadian freeskier)
• Spencer O Brian
(Canadian snowboarder)
• New York Red bulls
soccer team
• Formula 1 team
• Crashed Ice skating in Quebec
City since 2008
• Skateboarding
• Snowboarding
• Freeskiing
• Mountain biking
• Iceberg wakeboarding
• Stunt streetbiking
• Cliffdiving
• Skydiving
• Air racing
• Car racing
• Concert Flying Bach
• Thre3style DJ competition
• (BC One breakdancing
• Art of Can exhibit • Fashion shows
• Web radio and TV
Red Bull gives you wings
Suggest you become freer and
more daring when you drink Red
2. A lot of promises of the good life for just a drink.
• Soft drink advertising slogans (and the video ads that convey them) generally lead you to believe that their consumption is not only
refreshing but also provides joy, happiness, fun, entertainment, vitality, sharing, a feeling of identity, harmony and freedom. (See
INFO-PLUS.7: Slogans). These advertisements can be seen on YouTube.
- Coca-Cola: “Open Happiness”, launched in 2009 during the very popular American Idol TV show, “The Coke Side of Life” in 2006
-2008 (a positive, easy, relaxed, happy life)
- Sprite: “Plus qu’une boisson, un frisson” (France, 2008-2010), “I like the Sprite in you” (2009)
- Pepsi: “Ici, c'est Pepsi” and the response of their rival: “Partout dans le monde, c'est Coke”.
- Fanta: “Plus c’est Fanta, moins c’est sérieux”.
c) Aurelia H. blog (2010). Pepsi et Coca font la charité : philanthropie ou marketing ? January 10, 2010.
Online: (accessed November 1, 2010).
• Energy drinks slogan promises focus more on boosting energy (linked to the effect of caffeine) and beyond that, on power,
performance, intensity, sex, going beyond and limitless freedom.
- Red Bull: “Gives you wings”; Burn: “Fire to drink”; Monster: “Unleash the beast”; Rockstar: “Gets you going” and
“Party like a rock star”. These advertisements can be seen on YouTube.
• Company representatives feel free to spin yarns in discussing the power of their brand.
- “Coke, then, is associated to happiness. That is our essence. Coca-Cola’s millions of Facebook fans can then share their
definition of happiness. Coke has become the channel through which citizens in every country can express what makes them
- “We live in a world where we make choices every day and The Coke Side of Life [campaign] encourages people to make those
choices positive ones. [It] invites people to create their own positive reality, to be spontaneous, listen to their hearts and live in
full colore.”
- “Living for the moment, living fully, living fast, living healthy and living happy. This is what we believe in at GURU. It’s also how
we livef.”
3. A youthful look for THE intended target
• The language and visual style used to promote soft and energy drink brands (slogans, websites, visual advertising, etc.) are clearly
associated to a “youthful” image. Stylistic nuances vary depending on the product or advertising campaign in order to more specifically
target either youths or teenagers, girls or boys.
- Coca-Cola Canada’s website states that Sprite is mainly intended for youthsg. In 1996, the producer’s marketing director said,
“Targeting youths ensures the future of the brand”. By building young consumers’ loyalty to their brandh, companies ensure
growth of their sales over the long term.
- See examples on next page.
• Youths are reached through social media, where all brands are present; by bringing them to distribute their advertisements among
their peers, they strengthen the association between the brand and the young generation (see fact sheet #6).
• This youthful appeal of soft drinks undoubtedly influences youths’ preferences for a given brand.
- From a young age, almost all children can associate soft drink brands to their respective logos.
- Coke and Pepsi are the coolest food brands among children aged 6 to 11 aa.
- Teenagers’ preference and loyalty for a soft drink brand results specifically from the effects of brand marketing on them.
d) Bérard D (2010). L’essence de Coke c’est le bonheur. Les Affaires, October 23, 2010.
Online: (accessed in November 2010).
e) Marc Mathieu, senior vice president of marketing, strategy and innovation for Coca-Cola. News Release, Welcome to The Coke side of life.
Online: (accessed in November 2010).
f) We believe. Online: (accessed in November 2010).
g) Our products. Online: (accessed in November 2010).
h) Digère-moi ça. Un marché payant. Online: (accessed in November 2010).
i) Costa. M (2010). Brand awareness comes as part of growing up. Marketing Week, August 17, 2010.
Online: (accessed in August 2010).
j) Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2006). Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?
National Academy of Sciences. Committee on Food Marketing and the Diets of Children, Washington D.C., The National Academy Press, 536 pp.
Examples of the youthful image associated with soft and energy drinks
• Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La, Coca-Cola advertisement (2009): in a vision much like a child’s imagination, impish characters fuelled on
Coca-Cola operate an unusual piano played by an entertainerk.
Fantanas (young actresses or singers as spokespersons for the Fanta U.S.A. brand): a look that speaks to teen girls looking for a
colourful means of expression and beauty models.
Fanta France’s “Pokémon” characters: entertaining images like those in videogames and cartoons that children and pre-teens enjoy
Sprite’s Falling away and Urban refresh advertisements (2008, 2010): the effervescent and energetic image of youths “diving” into a
basketball court that magically transforms into a swimming pool! Or youths playing in a city park who bump into each other and
burst into sprays of…Sprite!
Red Bull: a style that is passionate about challenges and physical performance, like at adolescence (see table of sponsored events on
previous page). Photo right: BC One breakdancing event in New York in 2009.
k) Coca-Cola:;
Fanta:, and;
Sprite: and
Red Bull: (breakdancing) and (Crashed Ice) (accessed in November 2010)