Tags: coke | experts | paid | healthy | snack

Coke's 'Experts' Were Paid to Tout It as a Healthy Snack

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 07:09 AM

Coke paid health experts to promote its mini-cans as a healthy snack option during American Heart Month in February, raising concerns among those fighting obesity rates in the U.S.

"We have a network of dietitians we work with," said Ben Sheidler, a Coca-Cola spokesman, who declined to tell The Associated Press how much the company pays experts. "Every big brand works with bloggers or has paid talent." 

In February, many nutrition blogs and some major newspapers ran articles about healthy snack options that recommended a 7.5-ounce can of Coca-Cola — a 90-calorie shot of high-fructose corn syrup.

Those articles were penned by health experts and dieticians like Robyn Flipse and Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, who bill themselves as "consultants" for major brands like Coke.

The articles usually don't disclose directly the connection with Coke, and only sometimes are they marked with fine print indicating they are a "sponsored article."

"This is an example of opaque sponsored content," said Kelly McBride, who teaches media ethics at The Poynter Institute. McBride pointed out that using the word "consultant" doesn't do enough to show that the author of the article was shilling for Coke.

One trade group, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, have stated in its code of ethics that practitioners endorse products "only in a manner that is not false and misleading."

Another group, Dietitians for Professional Integrity, has made a direct call for dieticians to disclose their corporate ties prominently.

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Coke paid health experts to promote its mini-cans as a healthy snack option during American Heart Month in February, raising concerns among those fighting obesity rates in the U.S.
coke, experts, paid, healthy, snack
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2015-09-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 07:09 AM
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