....LMB: "Coca-Cola Combats, Creates Rumors"....

July 13, 2002

An article on O'Dwyer's PR Daily announced that the Coca-Cola company had created a new page on its website to "debunk or refute" false rumors about Coke products. Given the fact that there are only three main categories of rumors, and that the first of the three is "Middle East Rumors," I think it's safe to say that the goal of this new page is to try to placate Middle Eastern Coke consumers who might be contemplating a boycott of the brand (there has been a lot of talk in Muslim nations lately about boycotting large American companies as a way of making a statement about US support of Israel). The Middle East page basically plays up Coke's good works in Arab countries, and denounces claims that Coke "contributes profits to Israel," or that "Coca-Cola runs ads that promote violence against Muslims."

But frankly, I'm much more intrigued by the rest of the "rumors" that Coke tries to debunk. A number are related to the negative health effects of Coca-Cola. And, not suprisingly, Coke chooses to try to misdirect and confuse readers into concluding that Coca-Cola is, in fact, as healthy as garden full of vegetables. No, caffiene is not addictive (although they admit that people who stop drinking Coke can experience withdrawl symptoms). No Coca-Cola does not cause dehydration, because it contains water (although the caffiene acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose lose water). Strangely, this page does not even do a good job of providing false answers. I think the average reader would notice that frequently the response doesn't really answer the question.

All Coke's rumor management efforts are more amusing due to their current attempts to create false rumors about their new product Vanilla Coke ("oh boy, here he goes with the Vanilla Coke again").

As part of a fairly lame advertising ploy, Coke is trying to spread a rumor on the internet, via their slightly anonymous site VCoke Lounge, that there is some sort of conspiracy or scandal behind Vanilla Coke. We're supposed to believe that the anonymous site creator is a Fox Mulder of the beverage world, and we're supposed to be intrigued by his mysterious tale of a secret formula and Coke's attempts to quash it. They might want to think about re-tooling that site, because that "mysterious tale" is boring as fuck.

Evidently if you email the site, you are informed that it is indeed a fictional story used by Coke for marketing purposes.

The only good part of the site is the message board, where most visitors blast the site, Vanilla Coke's flavor, and marketing in general. My favorite post is the one entitled "Advertising Execs should all be rounded up and slaughtered".

Thanks to Jeremy for furthering my "Vanilla Coke is evil" fixation.

Posted by Jake at 01:53 PM

Heh. Some guy's linked to this article in an attempt to sell a "VCoke" bottle on ebay. Good luck, fella.

Posted by: Jake at November 13, 2002 02:33 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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