We knew this campaign had the potential to be controversial, but our research showed that many people have misperceptions of Coca-Cola and this impacts their ability to make informed choices. We therefore launched this campaign, which aims to dispel some of these myths and provide the correct information.

We’re always looking to provide people with choice, in terms of the variety of beverages and pack sizes we offer and to educate them, so they can make the right choices for themselves and their families.

As part of this ongoing education we asked Kerry Armstrong to speak in support of what we believe are some of the myths surrounding the brand. We know that Kerry and her teenage children enjoy Coca-Cola in moderation, and she agreed to work with us after hearing our side of the story.

There is no doubt the campaign has generated a lot of interest and commentary. Therefore, in the spirit of providing the facts, an open letter from our Managing Director, Gareth Edgecombe, will be published in tomorrow’s metro newspapers across Australia. Click to see a copy of this letter.

Following Craig Sinclair’s item, I thought we should set the record straight:

Myth 1: Soft drinks make you fat

It’s no surprise that Coca-Cola contains sugar, and we are not saying it’s a health drink. It is unrealistic however to blame one product for a complex issue. We share community concerns about overweight and obesity, which is why we are providing better information on our products, including % daily intake labelling and giving more choice such as sugar free drinks and multiple pack sizes. We have also recently launched a nutrition comparison tool, which allows people to compare our drinks and their ingredients.

At no time do we encourage excessive consumption, but rather we are letting people know that they can enjoy Coca-Cola as part of an active and balanced lifestyle.

Myth 2: Packed with caffeine

We are not recommending that children consume Coca-Cola — this advertising is aimed at parents. We support the role of parents in deciding what’s best for their children, that is why Coca-Cola does not market any of its products to children under 12. This policy has been in place for more than seven years.

Further we have three packaging sizes under 375mL cans — in fact, we have a 300mL slimline can, a 250mL snack pack can and the new 200mL mini can. In addition to offering sugar free options, Coca-Cola also offers a caffeine free option in the form of diet Coca-Cola Caffeine Free. People can choose which option is best for them.

Myth 3: It rots your teeth

We wanted to bust the myth that you can’t enjoy Coca-Cola and have healthy teeth because this is simply not true. We agree with the Australian Dental Association that good dental hygiene is the key and our advertisement is encouraging people to look after their teeth!

For more information on our products, our ingredients, dental health and much more, visit www.makeeverdropmatter.com.au.

Joanna Price is the Public Affairs and Communications Director at Coca-Cola South Pacific and mother of two.

Peter Fray

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