Ad Space – High Fructose Weight Loss Syrup

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
Technically, it’s not impossible to lose weight while drinking Coke.

Long before there was Diet Coke, the Coca-Cola company tried selling people on the idea that drinking regular old Coke, in all its high-in-sugary goodness, could be a weight loss aid.

Of course, that comes with a massive dose of “if used as directed”. Like when Subway Sandwiches advertised themselves as the healthy fast food option, that came with the obvious caveat “does not apply if you order the meatball sub”.

Drinking Coke could help you lose weight, if you use it the way this ad suggests: as a substitute for snacking. Coke may be a high calorie beverage, but it is still a beverage. For all the sugar pumped into it, it’s still mostly water, and consuming a similar volume of solid food is likely to be higher in calories.

What Coke is suggesting is that, if you’re between meals but feel the need for a little something to keep your energy up, Coke can do the job with less calories than most snack foods you might choose to munch on. And that’s fair enough … except who actually uses Coke that way?

Sure, if I’m at some vending machines, I might decide to get a can of Coke instead of a candy bar or a bag of chips, and that’ll save me some calories. But most of the time people drink Coke, it’s not because they’re hungry, but because they’re thirsty. They don’t use Coke in place of snacks, they use Coke in place of water.

Maybe some aspiring ad man had a plan to sell Coca-Cola as a healthier alternative to water, but even in the 1960’s, I don’t think they could get away with that.