Coca-Cola ad spots address obesity problem

NEW YORK (AFP) - Facing new regulations that target high-calorie soda drinks, US soft-drink giant Coca-Cola will unveil a pair of television ads this week that acknowledge the calories in its products and encourage consumers to burn them off.

A two-minute video titled "Coming Together" will begin airing on national cable news networks late Monday, reminding viewers that all calories count in managing their weight, including those that come from Coca-Cola beverages.

The purpose of the ads is "to highlight some of the specifics behind the company's ongoing commitment to deliver more beverage choices, including low- and no-calorie options, and to clearly communicate the calorie content of all its products," Coca-Cola said in a news release.

A second advertisement, called "Be OK," will debut on Wednesday and will state clearly that a can of Coke has 140 calories. "This spot also encourages people to have some fun burning those calories off," the Atlanta, Georgia-based company said.

Coca-Cola highlighted that it has also sponsored a number of other initiatives to encourage physical exercise and to make more transparent the nutritional content of its products.

The initiative comes as some government officials target high-calorie soda drinks for tougher regulations. The city of New York recently barred the sale of sodas bigger than a pint in many venues.

The New York decision, which will be implemented in March and will apply to restaurants, stadiums and movie theaters, aims to counter obesity in a city in which 58 per cent of residents are obese or overweight, according to the mayor's statistics.