The Dark Side of Food Campaigns, Part 2

So at this point, it’s clear that big soda and beverage companies haven’t curtailed their marketing campaigns targeted at children and young adults. On the contrary, the marketing towards this demographic has only increased, and the health implications that could result from this have been well-documented.

So, what can be done to combat this?
Over the past couple of years, two ideas have come from New York (one at the state level, one at the state level) that seek to curb consumption of these sugary beverages.

1. The soda tax

In the summer of 2010, then New York governor David Patterson proposed a penny-per-ounce soda tax. The premise is fairly straight forward (i.e. the new tax on a 12 ounce can of soda would be 12 cents). A study done by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found significant health benefits that could result from such a tax:

By nudging consumers toward less-caloric beverages, the penny-per-ounce levy would prevent an estimated 37,000 or more cases of type-2 diabetes over [the next decade], the study finds – saving state residents an estimated $2 billion in health care costs. (via NYC Health)

Further, this soda tax would have a positive economy benefit on New York State:

A penny-per-ounce excise tax would also generate approximately $937 million a year in revenue for New York State, including $404 million for New York City. (via NYC Health)

This sounds like a good policy to me, but as I’ve written before, behind every good policy, there must be the political will to pass such a policy, and unfortunately, the soda tax was never enacted (Read more on why the soda tax failed).

2. The media campaign against sugary beverages

Those who you who reside in the New York City area are more than likely familiar with Mayor Bloomberg’s provocative advertising campaign demonstrating just how caloric and unhealthy these sugary beverages are. For those who haven’t (as well as the rest of the non-NYC population), here’s what they look like:

(via NYC Health)

(via NYC Health)

The name of this campaign is (you guessed it) “Pouring on the Pounds”. No word yet on how effective it has been at deterring New Yorkers from consuming sugary beverages, but I can tell you personally that after looking at these ads, I’ll be having water with my lunch thank you very much.

Let me know what you think!

*Stay tuned for the stunning conclusion of The Dark Side of Food Campaigns, Part 3!*

One response to this post.

  1. […] have been targeting their marketing campaigns towards young people, and discussing how the Bloomberg administration has been using an advertising campaign to combat overconsumption of these s…, I think it’s worth examining a more recent battle of food campaigns. The issue/mini case […]


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