How to make sure that nobody takes your conference seriously

Coca ColaLet’s have a conference about how to make kids healthy and reduce childhood obesity. Who should sponsor it?

Well it’s obvious isn’t it? Coca Cola, of course.

This isn’t something from the Onion, this is from the actual real world in Canada. And it’s a perfect example of how to make sure that nobody can take your conference seriously.

More details:

Weighty Matters: Why Is Ontario Letting Coca-Cola Fund a Healthy Active Kids Conference?


  1. FrankG
    LOL -- or at least I would, if it were not so sad :-(

    Let's not forget that Pfizer has a vested interest in this as well.

    Did you also notice the foregone conclusion in this notice " is important that all sectors, both public and private promote children's well being through regulation of the food environment and community activities"

    Any room for discussion of alternative approaches do you think?

    And I don't for a second imagine that would mean any regulation (other than "self- regulation") of companies like Cola Cola. Such as selling their sugar water in schools or sponsoring sporting events as a way of marketing to children, despite claiming that they do no such thing.

    The fox is to guarding the hen-house...

  2. Ted Hutchinson
    It's the same with PINKWASHING.

    A company is aware it's products/services may increase the risk of Breast Cancer so it needs to be closely associated with the Pink Ribbon so show how much it cares. (while continuing in the same way)

    In the same way Kellogg's is working with Netmums to ensure schools offer breakfast clubs to ensure kids get a good sugary start to the day.

    And Diabetes UK and Alzheimer's UK are working with Tesco the largest UK purveyor of foods that promote diabetes/dementia incidence, to ensure more people are diagnosed with these conditiona and diabetes/dementia progression is sustained.

    Who better to promote obesity and it's consequences than those who benefit financially from the sale of those foods most likely to raise blood glucose high and fast.

  3. Robin Nixon

    "Coca-Cola insists that it does not market its products to children under age 12, announcing in 2003: 'In keeping with a policy that has been in place for more than half a century, the Coca-Cola Company and its local bottling partners do not aim or direct any marketing activity from any source to children under the age of twelve.' While 'no advertising to kids under twelve' may mean that Coke doesn't advertise on cartoons, it also includes a huge exception for shows with mixed audiences, those viewed by children and adults. Coke exploits this loophole through product placement. On American Idol, the top-rated program among children aged two to eleven, and the show for which Coke is the top sponsor, the Coke logo is emblazoned all over the set."

  4. robert
    Straight from the leaflet: "Ministry of Health and LONG TERM Care"

    Is that a bit of unplanned and unnoticed honesty?

    How do they make sure the "care" is long-term?

    Giving bad advice comes to mind.

  5. murray
    How embarrassing. I live in Toronto. Really, I do my best to enhance people's capacity for critical thinking. Must try harder.
  6. murray
    C-C.: There are children here somewhere. I can smell them.

    C-C.: Come along, kiddie-winkies!

  7. Michelle
    Sometimes the articles just write themselves...
  8. Beth
    I'm seeing a trend. You showed that Coca-Cola sponsored other similar conferences. And my school teaches nutrition and I noticed that the rooms that their classes are held have plaques that say the room is "sponsored" by Coca-Cola. Makes me think Coca-Cola is specifically targeting nutrition people long before they even get their credentials in hopes that they are so ubiquitous that these "experts" won't ever notice the elephant in the room.
    Reply: #10
  9. Steve
    I was sure this was going to be another don't buy Android post.
  10. FrankG
    I've no doubt that companies like Coca-Cola have highly paid professionals who are completely on the ball when advising them on matters such as this. Unquestionably they see the "writing on the wall" in regards to their peddling of sugar water; so rather than wait passively for policies that might harm their profit margins, far better to take the initiative, appear to be doing the "responsible" thing, all the while ensuring that the polices are in your favour.

    It is ALL about protecting and enhancing the profits for their shareholders -- taking care of peoples health is not a priority... being seen to have an interest in it, well that is good for sales.

  11. FrankG
    Wait a minute...

    I know Dr Freedhoff touches on this point in his post (at Weighty Matters) that Dr Andreas has linked above but take another look at this notice:

    The Toronto Board of Trade (what does that have to do with children's health?) is putting on a presentation outlining the Ontario Healthy Kids' Strategy

    It runs from 11:30am to 1:45pm next Monday but it starts at noon (I make that 1 hour and 45 minutes presentation -- I've had ad hoc meetings at work that lasted longer than that). Is the front-end 30 minutes to get seated, or are there perhaps trade booths?

    It is sponsored by Pfizer and supporting-sponsored (?) by Coca-Cola.

    And to attend (as a non-member) would cost me $99.

    $99... for what?

    Assuming they serve lunch, I daresay that even in Toronto I could get a fairly decent restaurant meal for $99??

    And what exactly is Pfizer's and Coca-Cola's "sponsorship" role in all this???

    Reply: #16
  12. Pablo Glez
    In Madrid, The Coca Cola Company is Strategic Partner to FEC the Fundación Española del Corazón (Spanish Heart Foundation) and Sociedad Española de Cardiología (Spanish Cardiology Society) and sponsors the XXIX Semana del Corazón (a yearly cardiovascular health awareness event). There you see their logo next to the line of people measuring their waist and their slogan is: "The Coca Cola Company hydrating the world since 1886".
    Reply: #13
  13. Robin Nixon
  14. Daci
    It's astounding that they can do this, even more so so that they get a free pass to do this world wide.
  15. Paul
    Not subject related but related in the strategy
  16. Dr. Jason Fung
    Hi Frank - the 'sponsorship' is simply a legal way to funnel money to the decision makers in the Ontario government. Since lobbyists are not allowed in Ontario, Coke simply pays these people 'speaker' fees and solicits their 'advice'. What they really want is access and goodwill towards Coke. The $79 fee is to keep the riff-raff out, and Coke and Pfizer simply fill up the seats with their own people that don't really want to be there but won't mind the free lunch. Happens all the time at medical conferences too.
  17. Nan
    This is pathetic. We are already having the first wave of diabetics, et al, victims of the 1970s introduction of hfcs; we have grade school kids with T2 diabetes; one can only imagine where this will all end.

  18. Katie in FL
    Someone in the comments mentioned Coca-Cola as sugar water. In the U.S., it is completely HFCS. I recently bought a Coke at my local Walmart and it was from Mexico where they still use real sugar. Okay, I indulged in it. It was delicious and only 12 oz., as opposed to 16 oz. or more from convenience stores. I definitely tasted the difference, and it is remarkable how the small size was quite a treat years ago and not part of the daily diet. I rarely drink soda, and certainly not chemical-laden diet stuff, so if I ever do have it, I will save the occasion for a rare, real Coke, not the stuff on the average shelf.
  19. Eddy
    Coca Cola for kids is an oxymoron,

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