Coca-Cola Busted for Big Fat Rotten Lies
Kelly Burke
Sydney Morning Herald
April 2, 2009

Coca-Cola has been ordered to publish corrective advertisements over its controversial "Motherhood & Myth-Busting" advertising campaign featuring actor Kerry Armstrong, which came under widespread attack last year.

Using the wholesome motherly image of Armstrong to convince parents the soft drink was "kiddy-safe", the advertisements claimed Coca-Cola did not make children fat, did not rot their teeth and was not packed with large amounts of caffeine.

Such claims were myths, Armstrong vowed in full-page print advertisements that ran nationally throughout October last year.

"Now that I've found out what's myth and what isn't, it's good to know that our family can continue to enjoy one of our favourite drinks," Armstrong gushed.

"My boys now call me Mum, the Myth Buster!"

The actor's young children may have been convinced by the performance, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was not.

"Coke's messages were totally unacceptable, creating an impression which is likely to mislead that Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight gain, obesity and tooth decay," the ACCC's chairman, Graeme Samuel, said.

"[The ads] also had the potential to mislead parents about the potential consequences of consuming Coca-Cola."

Today, Coca-Cola South Pacific gave the ACCC court-enforceable undertakings to publish corrective advertisements in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, The Courier Mail, the Adelaide Advertiser, The West Australian, and the Hobart Mercury, as well as on the company's own website.

The correct levels of caffeine for Coca-Cola, Diet Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero must be included in the corrective advertisements, the ACCC ruled, because of the false claims in the original campaign that the soft drink contained the same amount of caffeine as tea brewed from leaves or bags.

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