Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy group, launched a series of advertisements Thursday calling out Coca-Cola’s “woke hypocrisy” for its reported defense of China and alleged health concerns associated with its sugary drinks.
Part of the campaign is a video advertisement satirizing a Coca-Cola commercial, which is set to music with lyrics like “Just drink Coke, the road to obesity” and “China is our labor supplier that drives our stock price even higher.” The group also created a website “alwayswokacola.com” to continue to expose the company.
In addition to promoting the video advertisement that will air in Atlanta and nationwide, Consumers’ Research says it plans to drive mobile billboards around Coca-Cola’s headquarters, the Coca-Cola museum, and the Georgia State Capitol for 28 days.
“Today, we are launching AlwaysWokaCola.com and the accompanying ads as a satirical reminder to Coke to focus on their consumers, not woke politicians. The company has taken its eye off the well-being of the customer,” Consumers’ Research Executive Director Will Hild said in a statement Thursday.
“Their products continue to contribute significantly to childhood obesity, they have sourced sugar from companies in China reportedly using forced labor, and they have such poor quality control that racist directives, like ‘be less white’ are included in staff trainings,” Hild added.
The campaign aims to “to amplify the voice of consumers fed up with how the company is failing them and as a warning to Coke and other companies,” according to the statement.
“Any corporation who decides to distract from their misdeeds by taking radical positions on political and social issues that are unrelated to their business to garner positive praise from woke politicians and press is on notice, it’s not going to work,” Hild said.
The new advertisements are part of a seven-figure campaign Consumers’ Research is conducting to also expose American Airlines, Nike, Ticketmaster and the MLB, according to a press release. The Consumers First Initiative aims to give consumers transparency about companies so they can decide for themselves what products to buy.
Coca-Cola was sued along with the American Beverage Association in 2017 for allegedly knowingly misleading consumers about the health effects of its drinks. Coca-Cola said at the time that the accusations were “legally and factually meritless,” according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
The plaintiffs in the case said they’ve since withdrawn the complaint, recognizing that both groups “have moved away from claiming that their products have no connection to chronic disease.”
The company also reportedly pushed back on legislation that sought to crack down on forced labor in China. Coca-Cola has been tied to sugar suppliers in Xinjiang, where China is reportedly committing a genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minority group.
Coca-Cola defended, according to The New York Times, that it “strictly prohibits any type of forced labor in our supply chain” and has independent auditors monitoring its suppliers.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola continues to make statements about political issues in the U.S. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey earlier this year labeled a Georgia voting bill that has since been passed as “unacceptable.”
“It is a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity – this is frankly just a step backwards,” he said. “We have said for many decades we promote within Georgia better society and better environment and this is a step backwards and our position remains the same. This legislation is wrong.”
The company also allegedly promoted a course that encouraged people to “be less white.” The lesson was later deleted from LinkedIn.
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