New York City Soda Ad Wars Heat Up

The New York City advertisement wars over sugary drinks are heating up. The Center for Consumer Freedom took out a full page ad in the New York Times in response to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on sugary drinks bigger than 16 oz. being served at restaurants and other public venues. The Center for Consumer Freedom’s ad contains a doctored photo of Bloomberg dressed as a nanny, and under the photo are the following lines: “You only thought you lived in the land of the free,” and “New Yorkers need a mayor, not a nanny.”

The Center for Consumer Freedom calls itself a “nonprofit organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices.” Sourcewatch calls it a “front group for the restaurant, alcohol, tobacco and other industries” which runs media campaigns opposing the “efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, animal advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.” The contributors to the group include Coca-Cola, according to Sourcewatch, which has opposed the proposed ban in a statement.

In a blog post the Center for Consumer Freedom refers to Bloomberg’s proposed ban “as appealing and effective as an ACME anvil.” The blog post also refers to the New York City Mayor as “Big Brother Bloomberg.”

Coca-Cola executive defends the regular consumption of sugary drinks

A Coca-Cola executive opposed Bloomberg’s proposed ban during an interview with USA Today. Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola’s President & General Manager of Sparkling Beverages in North America, argued that “singling out single brands or foods is not going to help the situation.” However, Bayne acknowledged that obesity “is a critical health challenge facing our nation.”

Bayne actually defended the regular consumption of sugary drinks. “Sugary drinks can be a part of any diet as long as your calories in balance with the calories out,” the Coca-Cola executive said. “Our responsibility is to provide drink in all the sizes that consumers might need.”

The use of the word “need” is very interesting, for the stark truth is that no one needs to consume sugary drinks like sodas on a regular basis. The California Center for Public Health Advocacy compiled a list of facts about the consumption of sugary drinks in the U.S. According to the list, sugary drinks are the largest single source of added sugar in the American diet, and 41 percent of children ages two to 11 and 62 percent of adolescents in California, the most populous state in the country, drink at least one soda or other sugary drink a day. Here are a few statistics cited by the California Center about the health effects of consuming so much sugar-laden beverages:

  • California adults who drink a soda or more per day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight or obese, regardless of income or ethnicity.
  • Americans consume about 250 to 300 more daily calories today than they did several decades ago, and almost half of this increase reflects an increased consumption of sugary drinks.
  • A child’s risk for obesity increases by an average of 60 percent with every additional daily serving of soda.

During her interview with USA Today, Bayne said, “There is a large portion of the population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in our regular beverages. When my son gets home from school, he needs a pick-up with calories and great taste.” However, the California Center said that liquid calories are not well compensated for by reducing the consumption of other energy sources, so calories from sugary drinks tend to be extra calories that lead to higher total energy intake.”

Photo credit: Flickr user, DeusXFlorida

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

2 responses

  1. Let’s not forget that this is the same Center for Consumer Freedom that has campaigned to raise the legal level of blood
    alcohol in drivers and to allow higher levels of mercury in fish, and currently handles image marketing for high fructose corn syrup.

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