wood-targetingchildren-2020.pdf (257.93 kB)
Targeting children and their mothers, building allies and marginalising opposition: An analysis of two coca-cola public relations requests for proposals
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Benjamin Wood, G Ruskin, Gary SacksGary Sacks
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The study provides direct evidence of the goals of food-industry-driven public relations (PR) campaigns. Two PR requests for proposals created for The Coca-Cola Company (Coke) were analysed. One campaign related to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the other related to the 2013–2014 Movement is Happiness campaign. Supplementary data were obtained from a search of business literature. The study found that Coke specifically targeted teenagers and their mothers as part of the two PR campaigns. Furthermore, Coke was explicit in its intentions to build allies, particularly with key media organisations, and to marginalise opposition. This study highlights how PR campaigns by large food companies can be used as vehicles for marketing to children, and for corporate political activity. Given the potential threats posed to populations’ health, the use of PR agencies by food companies warrants heightened scrutiny from the public-health community, and governments should explore policy action in this area.