Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and public health: What does race have to do with it?

By | February 10, 2013

Why become a surrogate combatant in the Coca-Cola and Pepsi wars? To make money, of course. Just ask Beyonce Knowles (Pepsi) and, more recently, Christina Aguilera (Coca-Cola). On behalf of both, for “Big Soda,” we have, the New York City chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.!

Pepsi and Coke have been fighting for brand position and sales for as long as anyone can probably remember but, now, given the recent research on just how bad sugary soda is for you, and national efforts to reduce the intake of sugar—that will negatively impact their soda sales–they’re upping the ante through advertising campaigns and litigation, not to mention subverting public interest organizations that rely on their largesse. And, they are targeting the African American community and, increasingly, the Hispanic population as well.

Celebrity performer Beyonce’s endorsement of Pepsi has raised the profile of the war and the stakes as well. Her gain—said to be $50 million—is the public’s loss. More than enough has been said about her choices; I won’t add to it except to offer the obvious: I wish that she had chosen to promote nutrition and good health instead of its opposite and stood with Michele Obama, all the way.

We know what the price is–for Beyonce–for being on the wrong side. We don’t yet know what sum Aguilera has settled on. There is domestic consumption and then there is global. (New Jersey VOices)

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