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Coke addresses obesity in new ads. Do you buy it?

An employee arranges bottles of Coca-Cola at a store in Alexandria, Va., October 16, 2012.


Name your favourite Coke ad. The one with the hippies on a hilltop hoping to teach the world to sing? The one with Mean Joe Greene? Or the one with all those polar bears?

The soft drink maker has created a long list of iconic commercials, but get ready for a first: a Coca-Cola advertisement that addresses the obesity epidemic.

With soda drawing criticism as a contributing factor to weight gain and poor health, the world's most recognizable soft drink is finally taking on the subject in its commercials.

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On Monday, the company is set to begin airing a two-minute commercial during the highest rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Associated Press.

The ad makes the point that people gain weight from consuming too many calories, not simply from drinking pop, and also highlights the company's history of creating drinks with fewer calories.

A narrator says that obesity "concerns all of us."

Indeed it does, and with attacks on soda as being something just shy of a public health poison, it certainly concerns the world's No. 1 beverage company.

For example, New York is about to limit the size of soft drinks that can be sold at restaurants, movie theatres and other venues.

"There's an important conversation going on about obesity out there, and we want to be a part of the conversation," Stuart Kronauge, general manager of sparkling beverages for Coca-Cola North America, told AP.

A second ad is planned to run during American Idol that will show a montage of things you can do to burn off the 140 "happy calories" in a can of Coke. Exactly what makes these calories "happy" is anyone's guess, but it's in keeping with Coke's marketing itself as a tonic that washes away the blues.

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Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Reuters the new ads seem like "a full-blown exercise in damage control."

He added, "They're trying to pretend they're part of the solution instead of part of the problem."

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