Would This Ad Convince You to Give Up Your Soda and Juice?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  285 comments   :  27,868 Views

Last December New York State had considered implementing a sales tax on sodas and juices to help offset the rising rate of obesity, but that proposal appears to have fallen through the cracks.

Now New York City public health officials are taking the message to encourage people to give up soda and juices to the streets--literally. For a three month time period, 1,500 subway cars will carry an ad depicting fat being poured from a soda bottle into an overflowing glass with the phrase "Are You Pouring on the Pounds? Don't drink yourself fat" in hopes that this type of "in-your-face" ad campaign will encourage many people to give up their beloved sodas and juices.

While the ad is quite disgusting, I am not too sure if it is worth the $277,000 price tag it cost to put this campaign together.

How many years have we been told about the correlation between soda and juice consumption and obesity?

And it may not just be enough to say NO! I do believe that food and beverage industry plays a huge role in forming our behavior with what we consume, therefore leading us into an almost addicted state when it comes to certain foods and drinks.

In Dr. David Kessler's book, The end of overeating. Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite former Coca-Cola executive, Mike McCloud, admits that the company went into fast food giants, McDonald's and Burger King, and convinced them to upsize their cup sizes in order to increase company profits. So instead of the small 8 ounce drink that was sold years ago the average is now, 12 ounces. This may not seem like a big increase, after all we are only talking 4 ounces. However, with kids and adults being far less active these days, those 43 extra calories can add up over time--and that is if they stick with 12 ounces and not get the free refills that many restaurants make available to their customers.

And sodas are not the only culprits. Energy drinks and other sugary drinks also contribute to our obesity epidemic. I believe the only way to wean Americans off sodas is for parents to stop buying them and definitely keep them out of the schools. Obesity is an issue that we must hit from all angles and certainly education is a start. As to what impact an ad campaign will have on people, I guess we shall see in the months ahead.

Do you believe ads, such as the one mentioned above, have an impact on changing society's views on issues? Do you think shock advertising is an effective means of changing people's habits? What do you think of advertising as a tool for tackling the obesity issue?

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  • 235
    I know that in our school system you weren't allowed to bring pop from home and we didn't have soda machines available until high school. Even then, you weren't allowed to bring soda into the lunchroom. A lot of people have no idea how many calories they're drinking all day long and that you really need to check labels, especially on juice drinks! - 9/9/2009   11:43:28 AM
    That's pretty graphic... in the UK we have ads with fat dripping off cigarettes and quite graphic driving campaigns (youtube search 'welsh text driving') and the first time you see them they make an impact - but our nanny culture has been telling us about everything being bad for us for far too long! - 9/9/2009   9:23:05 AM
  • 233
    Addiction to sugary drinks of all kinds (milk and juices included there folks) is a real problem in the US and other developed/developing nations. While this sort of shock and awe compaign has its place, it will most likely have minimal impact. Though with some associated costs later in life etc, like some have said here, if it reaches just a handful of people and helps them to start a positive change you cant knock it too hard. The problem is you can never tell if it did or not.

    Advertising is education for a lot of people as well. I'm really surprised some people dont understand just how powerful those little signs and billboards have become in our daily lives.

    It is not always choice when it becomes near addicition. Try and find some kindness people. I want the choice to drink crap, eat bad foods and take a cab versus walking. I do not want those taken away. But I am not going to simply sit back and think people just need more education and voila it will be fixed. We know that education is a trickle up affair and if you already are missing it with the parents, it has to come from somewhere else. - 9/9/2009   5:15:51 AM
  • 232
    Sorry but I think the money spent for these ads is wasted. I think people need to be educated in other ways. Children need to be taught in their homes about good nutrition and their schools need to continue the education and not offer bad choices as part of their food service. I also think it is time that the big guys (coca cola and pepsi) start making it their focus to develop healthier drinks. - 9/8/2009   10:52:16 PM
    I don't beleive it is a great idea.People have always known that soda is not good for you they make a choice.270k is alot of taxpayer money to spend on an add. especially when our city is having so many other fiscal issues. In the last 20 yrs theres plenty of reporting by various sources on soda.It's all about personal responsibility. - 9/8/2009   7:01:01 PM
  • 230
    I think this is a great idea. Some folks get so busy and wrapped up in life that they don't take the time to think about what they are putting into their bodies, much less take the time to find healthier alternatives. Hopefully these kinds of ads will force the companies to develop healthier alternatives also. Nice article! - 9/8/2009   5:38:09 PM
  • 229
    I would hope it would grab the attention of people. I used to drink at least 3 coke cans a day before and I had the pounds on. Once I started my diet I gave up the coke and went to diet. I found out that diet drinks are worse for you so I gave those up. I now only drink iced tea and water, I haven't had a coke or diet coke in over 4 years and I am not missing them at all. - 9/8/2009   5:26:24 PM
  • 228
    My sister in law is 24 years old, and when I mentioned that the soda she consumes could be contributing to her weight gain (after she asked for suggestions), she was really surprised. She had never looked at the nutrition labels and had no idea of the calorie content. Obviously she has more than a "soda" problem, but with 6 to 8 cans a day - it would help if she cut back.

    I think this type of ad would reach her - it would get noticed, and get a reaction. For all of us who are so overwhelmed with ads that we 'tune' them out, this one would be really hard to ignore. And it's an important topic. - 9/8/2009   4:28:44 PM
  • 227
    I agree with trazi that if 3 people stopped it would be worth the $277,000 price tag.

    Yes people choose to drink pop and other sugary drinks however many may not KNOW what it really looks like. We are a very visual culture in 2009 and bombarded with visual bytes rountinely. I am on the fence about shock ads . Usually they would turn me off.

    But advrtiseing works and works (no pun intended) big time. Otherwise we as a culture would not embrace near starvating,emaciated, poster child for famine relief type "models" to model behind believing it is either healthy or beautiful & that only took less then 20 years for that to become the ideal.

    And what price tag do we put on intelligent choice and irrational ractions.. - 9/8/2009   3:59:17 PM
    Advertising changes some peoples ideas, or companies wouldn't spend so much money on it. I don't think it changes the majority of peoples habits. I think advertising to tackle obesity is a good idea, but it needs to be truthful. I tend to shy away from advertising from companies that sell a products that may benefit from the "truth" they are telling.
    I am totally against "sin" taxes. Even though it may not be the right choice, one has the ability to make choices and oneshouldn't be taxed because one prefers to drink soda. - 9/8/2009   3:29:32 PM
    This is just ridiculous. I doubt it will even do much good as far as lower obesity. People drink those things because they CHOOSE to.
    Regardless of how much you hate soda, the next guy has every right to drink it, without having to pay an extra tax on something he enjoys. What if they were to start an additional tax on fresh fruits and veggies? Then we'd all be screaming how unjust this is.

    Government overstepping its boundaries and wasting our tax dollars yet again... - 9/8/2009   3:25:26 PM
  • 224
    I'm don't believe in regulating behavior through taxes. Fro one thing, this is a free country and it's my life, I can drink soda and get fat if I want to, the government can stay out of it.

    While I do like the ad... yes, it's gross, but sometimes it takes the gross-out factor to get the attention of young people... I would much prefer the ad to come from the volunteer/non-profit sector rather than the government. I just don't think it's the government's job to convince us to change out lifestyles. - 9/8/2009   3:22:26 PM
  • 223
    I think its great. I don't like soda, but if I did I'm sure this add would make me think twice about what I'm putting in my body, and definitely cut down at least somewhat on my soda consumption.
    I also like the idea of implementing a tax on junk foods. It sends a message to consumers. If you had to pay $4 for a 16oz soda (as with many fancy coffee drinks) people would probably still consume them, but they would certainly consume less of them. It would be more of an occasional treat than a daily staple. We tax tobacco and alcohol so why not soda? - 9/8/2009   3:09:35 PM
  • 222
    As a tenn and in my early 20's I drank a fair portion of coke. I loved cherry coke. I was never overweight. I switched from cherry coke to fruit juice when I started to make healthier choices about my diet. I also switched from eating crisps to eating fruit and nuts. Again I was not overweight.
    I thought that 1 330ml can of coke and 1 bag of crisps a day was excessive. I see people drinking gallons of coke a day and consuming a family bag of crisps without a second thought.

    More recently there has been a move to portraying high calorie energy drinks as being healthy. Who really needs these drinks? I certainly don't. When I exercise I need water or an isotonic drink that will rehydrate me.

    I guess if I saw the add I it may have made me think about it. But I'm already converted away from high calorie drinks apart from pure fruit juice which you will never persuade me to give up. - 9/8/2009   2:38:43 PM
    $277,000? That's it? If the ad prevents just 3 people from drinking soda, saving them from diabetes and other long-term problems that they would otherwise go to the hospital for... $277k is a drop in the bucket. I'm all for it. - 9/8/2009   2:38:40 PM
    I think that adds that try to use shame to change people's habits are not very effective. They just make people feel bad and turn to their comforting habits even more. There has to be a more positive way to get this message across. - 9/8/2009   1:48:00 PM
    I used to drink anywhere from 3 - 6 cans of soda a day. I decided to quit cold turkey one day and haven't had any pop since the middle of May, 2009. I really for the most part don't even miss it. Being a former diehard pop fan, I don't think the ad would have stopped me. Just like the ads depicting the nasty chemicals and ingredients in cigarettes haven't stopped people like my parents from smoking. - 9/8/2009   1:47:27 PM
  • 218
    I think that the idea itself was stupid. The war on obesity wouldn't change with adding a tax on sweetened drinks and juices. The water industry though would definitely prosper some. People would just ignore the ad. The food industry as a whole needs to make healthier food taste better and more affordable than junk food. It is amazing that healthy foods are $2-3.00 dollars more than the junk food. People with large families especially notice that price tag when paying for it. A lot of my family members state that the healthy alternative usually has some kind of after taste that they don't like as well. - 9/8/2009   1:35:23 PM
  • 217
    I don't drink sugar laden sodas, drinks, and juices. I don't drink sugar free sodas very often. I usually drink water and occasionally sugar free iced tea. I really don't think the ad will affect people who drink these sweet drinks. We so much in the media that we turn it off and don't pay attention. - 9/8/2009   12:46:46 PM
  • 216
    Pretty sure the ad wouldn't get me to stop drinking soda or juices, but adding the tax sure as heck will. The government already gets too much of our money and I will not give them more and if it benefits me even more in the end it is all worth it! - 9/8/2009   12:34:45 PM
    What convinced me to give up soda (diet and otherwise) was my dad. My father had an addiction to Diet Coke for more than 15 years—you'd never see him without one. After a routine exam, he was told that since he had not given up his soda habit, his kidney function was at less than 45 percent.

    I quit that very day and haven't touched a cola/soda since. Now I drink more than 100 oz. of water each day and feel so much better for it!

    As far as the advertisement, if I was still drinking carbonated sugary sodas, I believe it would have as much an impact on me as all other ads—zilch. We're a society who has learned how to tune out or ignore ads altogether (i.e., Tivo, etc.) so I'm not sure the marketing powers that be would be able to effectively create an advertisement that can get through that barrier that society has so conveniently built up for us. - 9/8/2009   12:25:05 PM
  • 214
    I think that if sodas/snack foods were more expensive, less people would buy them. I don't really know if this is a good solution though.
    I don't have a problem with this, luckily, because I have never aquired a taste for sodas or juice.
    As for the advertising, I think it is a great idea. It balances out all the ads on TV for bad-for-you stuff. :) - 9/8/2009   12:11:03 PM
  • 213
    That is gross!! Do diet sodas also fit into that category? - 9/8/2009   10:59:19 AM
    I wish they would give you an alternative. I get so tired of drinking plain water. If you can't have diet soda or fruit juice what can you drink instead? - 9/8/2009   10:44:36 AM
  • 211
    It's an attempt to educate the public but I'm not convinced it's going to work. I used to do health promotion and found out that negative messages don't work (at least for smoking cessation). People don't like to be confronted with what their unhealthy coices do to them. Just think about the warnings on each and every pack of cigarettes that people open up and smoke them anyway.

    I'd like to be positive about the impact and hope the ad campaign gets people motivated to minimize or stop drinking juice and soda. Water is always a better choice and eating the fruit instead of drinking the juice is a better way to go. - 9/8/2009   10:19:29 AM
  • 210
    I don't think the ad will affect too many people strongly. We have been exposed to so many "shocking" things lately that one little thing like this won't be so suprising. We already know soda and juice pack a ton of calories. - 9/8/2009   10:19:27 AM
  • 209
    The ad may get a VERY SMALL percentage of people to actually stop buying/drinking soda and juice. Our culture has become so desensitized to all types of "shock advertising" that I think it won't make a huge difference. People do have a choice, unfortunately most of us make the wrong choice. - 9/8/2009   10:14:40 AM
  • 208
    This ad campaign might raise the awareness of how unhealthy soda and juice is but will it make the public stop drinking them? Don't think so....it's just like smoking, drinking, tanning beds, etc. People KNOW that is it unhealthy but many continue to do them.

    I am all for getting the message across that soda/juice is not healthy but it should be up to the buyer as whether to consume it or not. Just my 2 cents. - 9/8/2009   10:06:52 AM
  • 207
    I'm sure that the ad will make people stop and think for a minute...but I don't know if it will actually make them stop drinking them. I know for me - I try to just drink water so that when I do feel like indulging in a diet soda I don't feel so bad about doing it. - 9/8/2009   9:52:21 AM
  • 206
    I went 5 years without drinking a diet soda, but once I started I kept going ...now I try to limit it to 1 or 2 a day vs. 6-8 before. Eventually I hope to stop completely. - 9/8/2009   8:52:51 AM
  • 205
    Food and beverage companies play A role in forming our behaviour, but almost leading us into an addictive state? I disagree. People may CHOOSE to allow themselves to become "addicted" to sodas, but the companies are not FORCING us to drink their products. AND, as is written in the article, children are less active. Well, whose fault is that? It certainly isn't the beverage companies' fault.
    As for whether or not the ad will change people's behaviour, well, it will probably gross out some people but who knows if it will have any effect. There may be a few people who stop.
    I just hope people begin to take responsibility for their own health and stop blaming everyone else. - 9/8/2009   8:10:18 AM
  • 204
    I was so happy to learn that my children's school removed all pop (I'm from the Mid-west) from the machines at school. I think this is really where the bad habits form. Go schools! - 9/8/2009   7:40:11 AM
    I don't think the ad is going to work because if people want to drink it they will. I don't drink alot of soda or juices. It should be up to the people if they want to stop drinking sodas or juices. - 9/8/2009   5:32:48 AM
  • 202
    While I don't care for the ad that was developed, I think it will help raise awareness of the number of calories in soda and other sugary beverages. Learning not to drink my calories has been an important part of my lifestyle changes. - 9/8/2009   2:19:45 AM
  • 1960ANN
    I don't think this will stop people from drinking soda of juices, the thing that bothers me is all the vending machines at my son's high school are nothing but regular soda and power drinks, nothing sugar free or no sugar. How do we teach our children about how bad these drinks are for them when it's all they see in the school systems. My husband is a diabetic so my kids are usually very good about this with, but what about others?. - 9/7/2009   11:15:43 PM
  • 200
    I don't think an ad would change my Diet Mountain Dew addiction. Love my water but gotta have a diet dew a day! - 9/7/2009   10:48:08 PM
    yes i think it will help. I read recently the Unites States will soon in less than one year put such warnings on cigarette packs. All major countrys already do , but ours is so tiny and only a few words. They plan to show graphic pictures of tooth loss and cancer diseased lungs RIGHT on the packs. They have a web link you can search engine for to see them if you can stand to look. I think it stop smokers so why not do it for cokes and such that are killing our kids. WE give it to them for a treat and WE adults are killing them as we are getting them addicted to soda just like fokes are who were given cigarettes at a young age a generation ago. If shock works i say go for it .
    If we all put a picture on our fridge of a VERY VERY heavy person struggling to walk i bet we all stop eating junk too. - 9/7/2009   10:26:20 PM
  • 198
    Do you believe ads, such as the one mentioned above, have an impact on changing society's views on issues? I think there must be some effect on some people.

    Do you think shock advertising is an effective means of changing people's habits? I don't think shock advertising is as effective as education.

    What do you think of advertising as a tool for tackling the obesity issue? I don't think it hurts. It certainly sparked a lot of conversation on this blog!
    - 9/7/2009   8:01:51 PM
    People already know sugary drinks are bad for them. They don't really need a $277,000 add to remind them. However, I'd be willing to bet the schools could use that money to improve the food choices available to students. - 9/7/2009   6:14:43 PM
  • NANBO1835
    I know empty calories from sodas are a big problem. I think ads can help some people. Some will ignore it as other education efforts. I think obesity is such a multi-facited problem, but all efforts help some. - 9/7/2009   6:08:38 PM
  • 195
    Personally, all I'll walk away from with this ad is how disgusting it is. I rarely drink juice, but I do drink diet soda. The thing is, juice is moderation is beneficial, especially 100% juice, so I'm not sure the campaign itself is entirely a good idea. The soda, yeah, folks should limit that, I'm not sure a campaign of this nature will have the desired affect. - 9/7/2009   6:00:44 PM
  • 194
    I really don't think that this will stop people from drinking what they want. I do know that I stopped drinking pop/juice about 2 months ago when I finally decided that I was tired of being "fat" and I started exercising and cutting out all the other junk I was putting in my mouth. Now 22 pounds lighter I almost have my husband convinced to give it up, at least he drinks diet pop now. I really think people have to be motivated and have the want to give it up. I did get him to see it in a money point of view, when we ate out it was about an extra $5.00 on the check for our two drinks in some cases thats 1/4 of the check on just 2 glasses of pop. What a waste of money! Now he orders water with me.
    Maybe if they put up charts showing how much people are spending each day, week, and month on pop people would be motivated to stop drinking it. - 9/7/2009   2:08:57 PM
  • 193
    okay... so all the billions spent on ads selling us sodas didn't work then?

    $277,000 for a ad campaign in that market is miniscule.

    Please do some homework! Do you even know what it costs? You must... SP is inherently an advertising supported venue, and the ads that appear here and the sales you make support all the jobs there and the high investment you must have in server space to make this work. That doesn't make it bad or wrong, but please... think a bit about what you're saying!

    Interesting that rather than tax the stuff to reduce the costs of health care that ultimately are stuck to hospitals and doctors personally if we can't afford insurance they stepped back and used the only tool they had -- communication -- and some of us -- in a weight loss community yet -- get upset about a communication project as compared to the taxes.

    Wake up, folks, they don't want to tax stuff either. would you rather have an awareness campaign or taxes? I'd rather have taxes myself, as they are overt, rather than the covert cost of skyrocketing medical due to weight related health care - courtesy of the advertisers who told us soda would make us sexy and in. They profit, we struggle.

    And while soda isn't the only reason for weight gain (I now have 1 a year, perhaps), it's sure a killer.

    Okay, enough growling. But blogger and Sparkers, dear... get off the assumption dime!

    - 9/7/2009   12:21:29 PM
  • 192
    I think some people will stop and think twice - but most people ignore the ads in the subways. - 9/7/2009   12:17:09 PM
  • 191
    You are preaching to the choir here, since we are all interested in health or we wouldn't be Sparkers, but this ad will be on the New York SUBWAY where they reach thousands of poor working class people, who are obese, so just know that THEY will benefit from seeing this ad as SODA is a real issue with this economic group. It is seen as a "luxury" from having tea or kool-aid. That is why President Bill Clinton worked so hard to get SODA machines out of poor school districts as these kids were being targeted to buy the soft drinks their parents couldn't normally afford. The kids were saving their lunch money and buying sodas from the machines. - 9/7/2009   12:09:24 PM
  • 190
    It's making me think twice because the picture is so vivid. Not only about soda, but other high-fat foods. The purpose of the ad is working for me. The picture is disgusting but blatant and full of truth. - 9/7/2009   11:59:39 AM
  • 189
    I don't know that it will stop people from drinking sodas and juices, but I do think that it will make us think each time we do, and for some that is enough to deter them from drinking them. I myself have tried over and over again to cut out sodas and juices and have done well for a period before falling off the wagon again, but I know, because I've seen the results, how good I feel and how my clothes fit when I don't drink them for a while and increase my activity along with that. So I believe education will help but one must decide for themselves whether to apply that education or not! BTW...that sure is alot of money...WOW! - 9/7/2009   11:41:00 AM
  • NEWLIFE2005
    I don't think the ad will have an impact on the people that need to see it and believe it. People only believe what they want to believe. - 9/7/2009   11:36:34 AM
  • 187
    Not sure if it will help too much, but it encourages awareness. Education would help too. Most people I know drink diet sodas, and figure they are pretty healthy , but they are not. Atleast they are trying something. But that's a really big price tag, and there is probably some better , more effective ways to use the money. - 9/7/2009   11:18:06 AM
  • 186
    It would help me! I might print that out for my fringe too. Advertising is such a powerful thing, I know that I definitely check out particular products/ways of eating because of advertisements. I might not end up going for whatever the ad wants but I *definitely* give it more thought. I'd love to see more ads out there intended to encourage healthy behavior. I'm tired of seeing all the ads making junk food look so great! - 9/7/2009   11:09:21 AM

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