In 1971, Coca-Cola debuted its iconic “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” ad, featuring young people on a hilltop at peace and singing in harmony. It was just featured in the Mad Men season finale as well, a bit of a tribute to Madison Avenue’s clever marketing to the youth culture of the day.
But today sugary drinks such as regular Coca-Cola and Pepsi are at the forefront of the obesity epidemic, as sodas are getting much of the blame for a U.S. population where two-thirds of all adults are overweight.
A spoof of the 1971 commercial from The Center for Science In The Public Interest, the health advocacy group, paints a bleak picture of the effects of sugary drinks on consumers. Real people afflicted with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension reclaim the song with new lyrics to focus on what sugar did to them.
They sing: “If not for drinking soda pop / It’s just so sugary / My liver might not be enlarged, might have a few more teeth.” (See video below.)
It’s the same catchy tune, but with different words: “I’d like to buy the world a drink / that doesn’t cause disease.”
“For the past 45 years, Coca-Cola and other makers of sugar drinks have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-promoting drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “It’s a multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign designed to distract us away from our diabetes with happy thoughts. We thought it was time to change the tune.”
The video spoof ends with this message: Sugar drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet.