In Coca-Cola’s new advertisement, a group of joyous, fashionably dressed white children first seem to be helping repair the town of impoverished indigenous Mixe people in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
However, as it turns out, the kids build a giant model of a Coca-Cola bottle with wooden planks in the center of the town, after which they bond with the locals while drinking soda.
The ad has, understandably, prompted criticism from consumer rights and health groups who want the Mexican government to pull the ad, saying it is an attack on the dignity of indigenous people and that the campaign contributes to the deteriorating health of the country's native communities.
Mexico is a major consumer of soda and other sugared drinks and has ever-increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.
A study by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University estimates sugary drinks take more lives than violent crime in Mexico. Roughly 15,649 murders were officially recorded in 2014, compared to an estimated 24,000 deaths associated with soda consumption.
The soft drink manufacturer’s campaign called “Abre Tu Corazon” ("open your heart" in Spanish) has not only hurt the sentiments of the community but also has conveyed an extremely unhealthy message to the community, where most people are already at a risk of diseases.
It also drew backlash on Twitter with a critic saying, "Coca-Cola is working on some genius colonial branding in Mexico with its out-of-touch, racist campaign," Another asks: "Why don't you have the people of Oaxaca taking their culture to other countries?"
Coca Cola pretends to celebrate indigenous cultures & languages with this incredibly insulting ad in Mexico https://t.co/kDgiiSWUh2— Andalalucha (@Andalalucha) December 1, 2015
So Coca-Cola has now made the controversial video from Mexico private, but we have it. https://t.co/NZAFm4W38z— Latino Rebels (@latinorebels) December 2, 2015
Maybe? Racism in Latin America is pretty blatant. 'This New Coca Cola Ad Shows Mexico’s White Savior Problem' https://t.co/Tnc73vFMCm— Pablo Leon (@ArtsyPabster) November 30, 2015
"It's outrageous for the indigenous," said Diana Turner, a public relations person for Consumer Power, one of the groups in the alliance of consumer rights and health groups.
There are various reports and studies that prove soda brands like Coca-Cola promote health problems like obesity, tooth decay, diabetes and heart disease by advertising their product. And these are just a few to begin with; the list of the beverage’s adverse effects on the human body is endless. Too much consumption could even lead to death in severe cases.
Coca-Cola has already removed the advertisement from YouTube but its mirrors are still doing rounds on the Internet.
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