Cue student junk food withdrawals

By Matt Gillis

Advertising to children has always been a point of controversy in the marketing industry. Consumers under the age of 18 are more susceptible to the manipulative and persuasive nature of advertisements. Previously, most of those advertisements in question dealt with sexualizing women, portraying unattainable standards of beauty or promoting alcohol or drug use. However, a category of brands that has traditionally banked on the sale of their products to young consumers has recently been added to the controversial list of those not allowed to advertise to children.

As part of her Let’s Move! initiative to solve the challenge of childhood obesity facing the United States, first lady Michelle Obama proposed Wednesday to ban the advertisement of sugary snacks and drinks on school campuses for later this year. If put into effect, the proposal would ban companies including Pepsi and Coca-Cola from advertising their “unhealthy” products on school grounds via vending machines or cafeterias. Company logos used as sponsorship of school scoreboards or event programs would also be banned under the proposed plan.

Obama believes the initiative, which comes in celebration of Let’s Move!’s fourth anniversary, will sustain the work parents are doing at home to promote healthy eating. “Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food,” she said. “[Parents’] good efforts shouldn’t be undermined when they send their kids off to school.”

Michelle Obama junk food announcement

The American Beverage Association, which is led in part by Pepsi and Coca-Cola, surprisingly supports Obama’s proposal. The backing from the two soda companies may stem from their production of healthier drinks including bottled water, which would still be allowed for promotion in schools once the ban is initiated.

From an advertising perspective, this ban is a major challenge for companies selling “unhealthy” products. With children being the number one consumers of sugary snacks and beverages, this proposal has the potential to put several of the companies selling these products at risk.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola will have to put more effort into developing healthier beverage options in order to compete with companies that have the right to advertise to students in school, an environment these younger consumers spend the majority of their day in for five days a week. With companies spending over 149 million dollars a year on advertising in schools, losing this advertising platform will require these companies to develop creative solutions to make up for the lost brand exposure.

I guess the saving grace for these companies is that younger consumers are almost always digitally connected. This gives companies the ability to advertise to children via online platforms, which they are usually connected to throughout the day while at school, and inadvertently make the junk food advertising ban pointless.

Reference list:

–       Associated Press. (2014, February 25). Michelle Obama announces new rules for advertising junk food at schools. NY Daily News. Retrieved February 27, 2014, from

–       Let’s Move!. (2014). Learn The Facts. Retrieved February 27, 2014, from

–       People. (2014, February 26). Michelle Obama proposes ban on junk food advertising in schools. People. Retrieved February 27, 2014, from

Coca Cola Isn’t Puckin’ Around!

#Sochi2014. That’s right. The Olympics are here! Loyola is a multicultural school and so many of us may be united in education, but we’re all rivals for the sports. Team USA is back in the hockey world and ready to avenge their loss to Team Canada from 2010 due to Crosby’s goal. Yes, I’m still bitter about that and I’m a Penguins fan (the Pittsburgh Penguins team captain is Sidney Crosby for those who don’t know).

It’s ok, the rivalry is renewed this year and the US team started out strong with a preliminary butt whoopin’ of Slovakia with a 7-1 win. Despite this, USA has a bit of a rivalry with Team Russia. I never saw the “Miracle on Ice” live, but I can semi re-live it through the movie Miracle. Basically, Russia had a professional team they’d been fielding and winning the gold since 1964. In 1980, the Americans put together a team of college players who ended up beating Russia in Lake Placid. This Saturday (Feb. 15, 2014), Russia and the USA play each other at 6:30am CST.

Capitalizing on this game and rivalry is Coca Cola. Coke, known for making some feel good ads, put together a fun little commercial that has a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut in the International Space Station. They’re both watching USA and Russia play each other in hockey and are drinking Coke. USA scores, the Russian gets angry and sprays his coke in zero gravity. The coke is flying around and the two have to drink up all the coke before it causes damage to the station.

The commercial may have drawn inspiration from the real-life journey of an Olympic torch to the International Space Station (ISS) last November (Pearlman, 2014). It was created by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy (Beltrone, 2014). While Coca Cola has drawn some criticism from their “America is Beautiful” ad, this ad seems to have not had the negative reception their Super Bowl ad did. This hockey one plays off of the Russia and American rivalry which has been fueled further recently by Putin and Obama’s little rivalry.

The meaning behind Coke’s hockey ad campaign is “open happiness” and shows that despite the two rivalries, they can work together and be in peace with Coke being the one to tie them together. Is it cheesy? Maybe, but it’s an effective ad with some humor and an image that coke is so amazing that it brings even the most heated of tensions down. They also seem to be showing that they are an international brand that everyone can enjoy. Whatever Coca-Cola is exactly going for, they are playing on the emotional aspect by capitalizing on the fun and rivalry of the Olympics. To this I say rock on Coca-Cola! Oh, and go #TeamUSA!




Beltrone, G. (2014, February 13). Ad of the day: Coca-cola brings u.s.-russia olympic

rivalry to space astronaut and cosmonaut are bitter enemies (or are they?). AdWeek, Retrieved from

Coca-Cola. (Producer). (2014). Coca-Cola – ISS [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Pearlman, R. (2014, February 10). Coca-cola returns soda to outer space in new olympics ad. Retrieved from

Olympic Advertising May Be a Cause for Concern

Well the past few weeks have been a picnic for advertisers due to the Grammys, the Super Bowl, and now the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While many advertisers have brought out the big guns as far as advertising content, there has also been a fair share of controversy among companies that embrace diversity like Coca-Cola’s “America is Beautiful” campaign or Chevrolet’s “The New Us” campaign.

These advertisements have been met with both high praise and extreme criticism by some Americans. Although racial tension is involved in the controversy, the hot button issue for Sochi is homosexuality. This year’s Winter Olympics seems super charged between advertisers and viewers alike due to the sensitive condition of Russia socially and politically. With the law in Russia banning “homosexual propaganda”, friction between activists all around the world could be a threat to Olympic revelries. As this advertising season in the United States has become an indication that social change is occurring in favor of the LGBT community, the policies in Russia have not followed suit. Due to cultural ideological differences, it makes sense that certain views don’t align amongst countries. But the polarizing effect of the issue could be a source of conflict in the coming days. Advertisers are concerned about these differences, but feel confident that the nature of the Olympics will be enough to prevent any major negativity towards the Olympics. The event is made to bring people together and the strong emotions surrounding the events will not affect Olympic ratings. It is the hope of many advertisers that controversial topics do not seep into the public’s mind and lead them away from tuning in to the Olympics and wasting tons of money on exclusive rights and time slots. Maybe the world can set aside social issues for a few weeks, but this makes me wonder if companies showing these ads are like a raspberry in the face of Sochi. The advertising ideas do appeal to a lot of Americans in a positive way, but how does Russia feel about being connected to ads that they would most likely find inappropriate for viewing by their citizens? While this is far from a huge international crisis, I find it interesting that the United States is on the horizon of accepting diversity while Russia seems to act rather the opposite.


Stuart, E. (2014, February 6). Fingers crossed, marketers count on olympic gold. New York Times. Retrieved from

SodaStream scores Super Bowl scandal

By Matt Gillis

In the world of advertising, there is no better way to publicize your brand to an enormous amount of consumers than during the Super Bowl. But even though there is an audience of over 108 million television viewers (Super Bowl XLVII) in the United States alone, companies must compete against the clutter of the numerous other advertisements featured throughout the game. The heightened demand for a Super Bowl advertising spot has companies generating their most creative and effective commercials of the year, which is another factor each business must consider in trying to effectively reach their target consumer.


However, some companies have turned their Super Bowl advertisements into newsworthy affairs. Several critics even believe that the controversy surrounding said advertisements are calculated attempts to heighten the company’s brand publicity beyond the confines of the Super Bowl.

One such company, SodaStream, has recently been in the news due to their advertisement, which was scheduled to air during this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, being initially rejected by Fox. SodaStream is a company that produces machines that allow consumers to make carbonated beverages in their homes. The advertisement, which features actress Scarlett Johansson, directly addressed its biggest beverage competitors saying, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.”

Because Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are two of the Super Bowl’s largest advertisers, Fox officials initially rejected SodaStream’s advertisement. A censored version of the advertisement that emits the line mentioning the company’s competitors will be broadcast on game day.

However, this is not the first time the Israeli beverage company has been subject to advertisement scrutiny. Last year, the company’s Super Bowl advertisement was rejected by CBS because it claimed that its reusable bottles made the brand greener than both Coke and Pepsi.

With the hefty price tag of up to $4.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl, companies like SodaStream have turned to cheap publicity scandals to garner more consumer reach. The process of submitting advertisements with the knowledge of their looming rejection due to raunchy or inappropriate material is just one of the many tactics companies have turned to in hopes of receiving public attention.

While SodaStream has been successful in creating media buzz about their campaign and brand, the repetition of their publicity-seeking behavior is creating a negative brand image for the company. The short-lived media attention will not generate loyal consumers, and I believe the use of negative publicity as a means of garnering attention has the potential to hinder an up-and-coming company in the long run.

Reference list:

–       Wire. (2014, January 28). Scarlett Johansson SodaStream Super Bowl ad tweaked to drop Coke, Pepsi references. ABC 15. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from

–       Rivera, Z. (2014, January 29). Scarlett Johansson’s uncensored SodaStream Super Bowl ad banned by Fox. NY Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from

Coca-Cola suspends ads to help Philippines

By Matt Gillis

As the marketplace continues to gain competition, companies are required to maintain a positive brand identity in order to survive. While advertising makes up a large part of a brand’s awareness and image, a company’s corporate social responsibility creates a positive perception of the brand in the minds of consumers. Being perceived as a well rounded company that is willing to help the public is now a necessary factor in the success of a company.

Coca-Cola Inc., along with several other soft drink companies including PepsiCo Inc. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc., have suffered a decline in product sales this year despite new marketing efforts. Coca-Cola has sold four percent less soda in North America compared to last year, which is a continued trend since 1998. Experts suggest that the decline in soda sales is due to its unhealthy nature and the wide variety of beverage choices, but Coca-Cola has begun targeting bottled water, tea and sport drink consumers in order to sell more drinks and boost their sales.

However, despite the company’s decline in sales, Coca-Cola has decided to donate their entire brand advertising budget to the Philippines to aid in typhoon relief efforts. Coca-Cola announced that starting November 18 the company will no longer spend money on advertising efforts leading up to the holiday season. To date, the company has donated more than $2.5 million in cash and contributions to the country.

Coca-Cola FEMSA is one of the soft brand’s bottling companies located in the Philippines. Carlos Salazar Lomelin, Chief Executive Office of the bottling company, said, “It is in times like these when the Philippines sets an example of resilience and good spirit, and where our values of supporting ourselves as a team come at its best.”

Typhoon Haiyan, which has been labeled as one of the strongest storms on record, currently has a death count of more than 5,000, with 1,611 people still missing. The cost of damage resulting from the typhoon is estimated at $5.8 billion for the Philippines.

While Coca-Cola’s decision to end its holiday advertising efforts may seem like a mistake when referencing their decline in soft drink sales, their support in typhoon relief has given them far more publicity and positive brand perception through news outlets and social media with its consumers than any advertisements would have. Publicity reaches a larger market and is perceived as more credible because it comes from a trusted outside source. People are going to recognize Coca-Cola’s social awareness and support the company’s products to embrace their positive efforts.

Reference list:

–       Goldberg, Eleanor. “Coke Suspends Ad Campaign For Best Reason You Could Imagine.” The Huffington Post., 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Nov. 2013. <;.

–       Winograd, David. “Soda Sales Continue To Decline Despite Flashy Marketing.” The Huffington Post., 24 July 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <;.

Apple beats Coca-Cola in Brand Value


In a surprising move, Apple has now taken the number one spot in being considered the most valuable brand over Coca-Cola. Coke has for 13 years been able to maintain the number one spot due to the company’s ability to advertise anywhere and everywhere. Coke is a staple in the soda industry due to its global allegiance and recognition. Coca-Cola has been able to not only market their products with television and radio commercials, but also by special labeling through sponsorships. Being one of the most successful and profitable brands, it is surprising to see that Apple has been able to surpass Cokes brand value. This brings about several questions. Is Apple’s innovation what makes them now the leader? Is Coke somehow losing consumers? Or is Apple simply taking the lead due to recent releases of products?


Many of these questions have various answers, but the most important thing to note is that Coca-Cola is not losing value or recognition. On the contrary, being already a large company with global recognition, Coca-Cola still has plans to market to consumers whom they have never marketed to before. For instance, due to Pepsi being the leader in the market of soda in Russia, Coca-Cola plans on heavily advertising during the Olympics in Russia. Coke plans on taking over the market through local advertisement and large exposure brought by the Olympics. Coca-Cola has been successful in dipping its hand in a variety of different markets by sponsoring athletes, products, and businesses. Through market strategy, Coca-Cola has remained relevant.


Apple tends to market its products the same way through different forms of media. It has been considered number one in brand value partially due to the cult following have with its products. Most recently, the iPhone 5s was released and although it is essentially the iPhone 5 with some tweaks here and there, it was still able to produce a groundbreaking release. Last year when the iPhone 5 was released, five million units where sold, while this year the iPhone 5s produced a whopping nine million unit release. Thus, through globalization and advertising, Apple has been able to continue being successful.

Both Apple and Coca-Cola have a tremendous brand value. However, I believe that because of how relevant Apple is in society and how it markets to its consumers it has been able to create more brand value. Coca-Cola has been a household name for many households for a very long time, and now Apple is becoming a staple in people’s lives. Through offering a large range of products, Apple has been able to become leader in brand value. 




Gross, D. (2013, September 30). Apple passes coke as world’s “top brand”. Retrieved from


Barr, A. (2013, September 23). iblockbuster weekend for apple’s new iphones. Retrieved from