Junk-food benefit of the week: Sprite could help cancer patients

By David Kiefaber on Tue Nov 16 2010


Can Sprite cure cancer? Well, no. But according to new research, it can help cancer patients absorb drugs prescribed to them during treatment, depending on the acidity of the patient's stomach. Or it could make matters worse. Like many pieces of medical journalism, this article is woefully unclear. Either way, researchers at Eli Lilly mixed an oral cancer drug with Captisol (to improve the drugs' solubility) and flat Sprite in an artificial stomach, and found that the Sprite "regulated the acidity in the stomach so as to allow the body to absorb more of the cancer drug." Skeptics claim there are too many biological intangibles to suggest that Sprite actually helps cancer patients, plus it's only uncarbonated Sprite that works. Not exactly the best endorsement for a refreshing beverage, I would say. I don't see Sprite capitalizing on this anytime soon, which is for the best. Junk-food ads are bad enough—on the rare occasion that they make health claims, they get even worse. And I do not want Thirst the Creepy Action Figure claiming he can cure cancer.

Pepsi Max remakes classic Pepsi diner spot with a modern twist

By Todd Wasserman on Mon Jul 19 2010

Ask the average corporate exec to comment about a rival and you'll usually get a blanket statement like, "We don't comment on competitors." But those same upper-management types, it seems, have no trouble putting their rank-and-file employees on the firing line, at least in advertising. Aside from the long-running Verizon-Comcast spat, which features a feckless cable guy squaring off against an obnoxious FiOS rep, there's the on-again, off-again rivalry between the guys who drive trucks for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. In this latest campaign for Pepsi Max from TBWA\Chiat\Day—an update of a famous 1995 Super Bowl ad by BBDO (with the original Pepsi guy now playing the diner cook)—a Pepsi rep persuades his competitor to try the drink. As the Coke driver admires Pepsi Max's no-calorie sweetness, the Pepsi guy snaps a quick video and uploads it to YouTube. A brawl ensues, but when the dust clears, it's hard not to sympathize with the Coke guy, who may (in the story, at least) lose his job. On the other hand, perhaps Pepsi research has identified a weasel-ish psychographic that responds well to betraying overtures to friendship.

Coca-Cola has special thank-you message for first Facebook fan

Posted on Mon Jun 14 2010

Coca-Cola has almost 6 million fans on Facebook, but it all started with one. Here, Dusty and Michael, the creators of Coke's fan page, contact that very first fan. Now, stop me if you've heard this one...

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

3 Mountain Dew flavors battle to death in Dewmocracy campaign

Posted on Tue Apr 20 2010

PepsiCo's Mountain Dew has released three new consumer-generated flavors—Distortion, Typhoon and White Out—though only one will survive. The product introductions comprise stage two of a year-long, social-media-backed crowdsourcing effort, in which the beverage brand asked fans what they were looking for from their favorite drink. TV and online ads breaking this week ask consumers to narrow the three down to one. (Sorry, America.) In the ad shown here, a shirtless beach dude guzzles some Typhoon and orange-and-red tidal waves and a typhoon-like-swirl build in the ocean. See the other two spots at Dewmocracy.com. In the White Out ad, a woman being pursued by ninjas is able to escape by blending into a wall, thanks to the beverage or her awesome camouflage skills. The chosen flavor will join last year's winner, Mountain Dew Voltage, on shelves on Labor Day.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Latest Fantana proves you can never have too many Fantanas

Posted on Fri Sep 11 2009

Shakira has joined the Fantanas! Too bad it's Shakira Barrera from Englewood, N.J. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola has named its fourth sexy soda spokesperson for its Fanta brand. A little history: The Fantanas were born in 2002, when Coke decided to relaunch the Fanta brand in the U.S. as a replacement for Orange Slice and a competitor to Sunkist. To show off its variety of flavors, it cast four models in its ads to lip-sync its jingle "Don't You Want To?" They would go on to pose in Maxim and be spoofed by Mad TV. However, as happened with other supergroups like Menudo, new members have been rotated in over the years. This time, the brand announced an open casting call online in April. Barrera was selected from 10 semifinalists, who sent in one-minute videos showing off their "personalities," by a panel of judges, including Chilli from TLC. Barrera's prize includes the opportunity to appear in Fanta's 2009-10 ad campaign as well as $5,000. Considering Fanta has quietly become one of the few carbonated soft-drink success stories of the past decade, the Fantanas have proven yet again that sex sells.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Six artists whip up some crazy-ass Mountain Dew bottle designs

Posted on Fri Aug 28 2009


Angry monkeys. Crazy eyes. Enormous octopi. Exactly the sort of imagery you want next to your mouth when you drink a soda. In early September, Mountain Dew will launch its third Green Label Art series, which consists of collectible aluminum soda bottles featuring designs by six contemporary artists. Each graphic is vastly different from the others, both in style and theme. One of the artists, Stephen Bliss, drew a gigantic octopus seizing a ship from the pirate era (the one before 2009). The olive-green water in the drawing looks almost as filthy as the Hudson River, which doesn't exactly give the consumer a good impression of what she's drinking. Claw Money, the first female artist of the series, drew her signature three-clawed paw with arrows winding around the bottle. While they are certainly interesting, there's really no connection between any of the six designs and Mountain Dew. Maybe the artists should have tasted the soda before setting up their easels. UPDATE: A rep for the brand wants to clarify that each of the designs was directly inspired by Mountain Dew. For example, here's Stephen Bliss talking about his octopus bottle: "I imagined there to be a world inside every bottle of Mountain Dew—an adventure—a huge ocean of Dew with sea creatures. The scene is frozen, on the brink of chaos; the ship is about to be pulled under the ocean and the volcano will erupt. The birds are scattering in anticipation. There's a different adventure in every bottle." See, the connection is obvious!

—Posted by Elana Glowatz

Stirring commercial from Coca-Cola lift people's spirits in Mexico

Posted on Tue Jun 23 2009

Mexico's had a lot to deal with lately: horrific violence wrought by drug wars, the swine flu, its share of the global economic slowdown. That's the backdrop for this Coca-Cola ad, which uses the song "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie, sung here in Spanish, to great effect. What sounds treacly in English is unexpectedly moving and effective in this version, especially when mouthed by a cross-section of that country's population, including students, factory workers, a weatherman and a cute little girl with a great set of pipes. Coke's U.S. ads may not be striking the chord they used to, but this ad and a previous one from Spain show the brand translates very well in Spanish. Via JWT Anxiety Index.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Is Coca-Cola a cool, refreshing drink or a global killing machine?

Posted on Mon Apr 20 2009


What would a Coca-Cola shareholders meeting be without some protests? The annual get-together is a magnet for Zionists, supporters of Chinese democracy (the real thing, not the Guns N' Roses album) and Indians who claim the company is taking the country's drinking water and marketing a version of the drink that has more pesticide content than would be allowed elsewhere. But one of the most persistent charges against Coke is that it was involved in the murder of union leaders in Colombia who worked in that country's bottling plants. A group called the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke has been a thorn in Coke's side for some time, and now it plans to crash this week's shareholder meeting in Atlanta with mobile billboards that charge Coca-Cola with many of the crimes mentioned above—though there's no word from the Zionists, who want the company to compensate the Biglio family, Jewish refugees who were forced out of Egypt in the 1960s. The Zionist Organization of America charges that Coke has been profiting from the Biglios' seized property since that time. Having product in most of the world's markets has undoubtedly been good for Coke, but here is the downside of globalization.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Dr Pepper would rather chill with young gamers than old rockers

Posted on Mon Apr 20 2009


Dr Pepper had a rough time last year with that Guns N' Roses challenge. Well, forget all that, because a teenage guitar hero is a better bet than an over-the-hill rock star any day.
  Major League Gaming, the world's largest pro video-game league, might sound like a pimply dorkfest, but the five events on its 2009 circuit attract 15,000 competitors and fans, plus millions of online views. Three-day tourneys are organized in a bracketed system that involves Halo 3 and Gears of War 2 competitions. Dr Pepper sponsors the league and the top-rated team, Str8 Rippin. "Mainstream sports and entertainment is so cluttered. ... Consumers don't really care who's sponsoring their favorite teams," says Josh Levine, president of Rebel Industries, a Los Angeles-based marketing agency that helps Pepper reach young gamers. "Kids hang out in the booth for hours [and] are hugely supportive of sponsors that acknowledge the significance of competitive gaming."
  The Dr Pepper Gaming Lounge is populated by Dr Pepper Girls who serve sodas and pose for photos with fans. Str8 Rippin team members practice against other teams while fans watch from the sidelines or join in when there's an opening. Digital extensions include a Facebook page and text-to-win promotions. Str8 Rippin's star player is Tom "Tsquared" Taylor (shown here), who has a three-year, $250,000 contract and his image plastered on a collectible can. "Str8 Rippin are stars, and [kids] are excited to hang out with them and get beaten by them at Halo 3," says Levine, whose agency worked with local shop M-80 on the project. "We try to make the booth a lot of fun and not feel too corporate."

—Posted by Becky Ebenkamp



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