Ad campaigns, freedivers, and greenwashing

Coca-Cola shaped Christmas: from Santa Claus to the their Christmas truck. There is more to Coca-Cola than great ad campaigns. They are polluting the world.

Background

Coca-Cola has had an immeasurable impact on our planet. Most people don’t think of the company as a global polluter. Instead, people think fondly of Coca-Cola and think of its memorable font, great ad campaigns, Santa Claus (who used to wear green before his Coke makeover), and the Christmas truck!

Recently, Coca-Cola has tried to clean up its brand name to steer focus on the immeasurable impact is has had on land-based and marine eco-systems with its systematic air, water and land pollution.

Ad campaigns

In 2019, they ran an ad campaign in Europe with the hashtag #neversettle, which featured a British freediver. When I saw this ad, it made me sad and pretty angry that a freediver would be part of an ad campaign run by a global polluter. Why would anyone (who has seen water and beach pollution first-hand) lend their name to the greenwashing campaign of a company that is only seeking change because legislation is forcing them to?

 

 

Of course, Beci is simply one in a long line of freediving athletes who advertise companies that destroy the environment! Audi, Mercedes, BMW, and Bayer have all paid freedivers to advertise their products. I would rather stop freediving than rely on dirty money from corporations like these to fund me.

We all know that car companies contribute massively to all types of pollution and carbon emissions.

We all know that Coca-Cola pollutes beaches and waterways worldwide with devastating impacts on marine mammals and other creatures, from the bottom to the top of the food chain.

We all know that Bayer supported the Nazis, their products cause cancer, and that they merged with Monsanto who is responsible for a long list of eco-crimes.

Coca-Cola’s future strategy

Let’s be clear. Coca-Cola doesn’t plan on moving away from plastic.  Their Head of Sustainability, Bea Perez, said that Coke’s customers don’t want them to stop using plastic… Instead, they are moving towards becoming more circular and more recyclable. They have committed to making their packaging 100% recyclable by 2025 and to make bottles with an average of 50% recycled material by 2030.

Whilst I applaud their move towards a circular economy and using recyclable materials, this does not absolve them from their responsibility to clean up the mess they have created.

In their latest campaign, Coca-Cola has made a tear-jerker for Christmas. The ad made me laugh because of its inclusion of references to green energy sources and a healthy ocean… cue the happy whale jumping out of the ocean.

 

The associations that people have with their lives and Coca-Cola are so deeply ingrained that they cannot fathom living without the brand, and find it hard to criticize the beast that it has been for so long. It it hard for people to look at the cold hard truth and stop supporting the company.

Reminders:

The scope of its pollution:

 

The full film is available on Vimeo and Amazon Prime.

Bottles and bottle caps found in the stomach and intestines of dead whales:

Bottle caps found in thousands of bird stomachs: 

My plea to you

Freedivers, please don’t help Coca-Cola advertise.

Readers, please don’t support Coca-Cola and their subsidiaries.

Please let your local government know that you want tighter regulation of companies such as Coke.

Please put pressure on Coke and others to genuinely commit to change and to pay good (not fair, not average) wages to the people whose job it is now to clean up their mess in Africa and around the world.

Lastly, please don’t fall for marketing tricks and TV ads. Please learn more, beyond greenwashing, toward truth.

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