Marketing to your health

I sometimes blog about marketing for the, where I recently looked into Walmart's re-branding. It's interesting to see how brands cast themselves in leading roles that fit into the agenda of the day.
Walmart picked up on using the power of its huge size and presence as an exemplar for nutritious food choices at affordable prices. They've pledged to work toward that end and so won the endorsement of the First Lady for the healthy food initiatives. Of course, the retailer also got the go ahead to open in Washington. It is currently working on making inroads into New York City.

This is a general trend in the food and drink industry.  Brands are trying to show that they are on your side in helping you lower your sugar and improve your health.  General Mills emphasizes its devotion to good nutrition after having taken a lot of flack for marketing some of least healthy cereal choices to children through direct advertising and games like Millsberry  . My theory is that Millsberry was taken down at the end of 2010 in part because of these accusations, though General Mills does not admit to targeting children with unhealthy cereals or provide any substantial reason for the site's removal, for it was still quite popular.  A rep of General Mills responded to my query in an email as follows:
: "Hi Ariella,

Thank you for your message.  Millsberry was a great Web site, and it was highly valued, but its time had passed.  The site was still very popular,  but we felt it was time to do something different and consider new ways to engage consumers.


While we understand that breakfast cereals are expected to be a source of nutrition, as part of a daily meal, the question is why would anyone think that of soft drinks?  Yet Coke is not presenting itself in a "Live positively" campaign. This contains absurdities like the ground-breaking new that the slimmer Coke can delivers "The same big taste you love in a slimmer can." It  is only 90 calories. Of course, it is because it only gives you 7.5 ounces. Obviously, smaller quantities translate into fewer calories.  That's why you have 100 calorie packs of virtually every snack food out there.  That can mean 2 cookies or 3/4 of an ounce of pretzels or a few Hershey's kisses -- basic math at work here. But what's even funnier is that Coke is presenting itself as your source of "tools for healthy living."  Soda is not a health drink.  Even the diet versions, which don't increase your sugar intake, are loaded with all sorts of stuff that you are probably better off without.  Of course, it's your choice what you drink, but your nutrition guidance should come from a reliable and unbiased source. The fact that Coke is casting itself in the role of mentor for nutrition is utterly laughable.
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