Cancer Council Victoria's Anti-Soft Drink Ad Echos 90s 'Every Cigarette Is Doing You Damage' Campaign

12/10/2015 9:49 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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A shocking ad showing the effects of sugary drinks on vital organs is reminiscent of anti-smoking ads that aired in the late 90s and early 2000s.

The ad, released on Sunday, showed a man drinking cola, then zooming inside to show his fat-coated organs.

It's the same technique used in a series of ads by Quit -- the Australian National Tobacco Campaign -- which zoomed inside a smoker to show a clogged aorta, a tar-soaked lung and a brain clot.

It was a 1987 campaign about AIDS, however, that pioneered the concept of shock tactics in the name of public health.

The notorious ad showed the Grim Reaper bowling down men, women and children to represent the spread of HIV.

To launch the soft drink commercial, Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper experimented by drinking a 600ml bottle of cola.

"Within minutes my blood sugar level spiked and I started to feel jittery, but before long my energy levels dropped," Harper said in a statement.

“Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks contain dangerously high levels of sugar which, as I experienced first-hand today, cause sudden and quite significant changes to your body."

sugar

A still from the current ad (above) and the anti-smoking ad (below). Pictures: Cancer Council Victoria/ YouTube / Quit Now

smoke

Harper said the ad was commissioned because one in five Victorian adults had sugary drinks on a daily basis, whether it be sports drink, fruit drink, energy drink or soft drink.

"The excess sugar in these drinks can turn to toxic fat and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers," Harper said.

“We want people to understand that there is nothing sweet about sugary drinks.”

Heart Foundation Victoria research showed the average Australian soft drink consumer had the equivalent to one 375ml can of sugary drink a day, which would cause a 6.75kg weight gain in one year.

The foundation's director of cardiovascular health programs Kellie-Ann Jolly said the nation was at crisis point.

“Sugary drink consumption is contributing significantly to our obesity crisis, with the average Australian soft drink consumer drinking the equivalent to one 375ml can of sugary drink a day -- that’s 14.6kg of sugar per year that our bodies don’t need,” Ms Jolly said.

“For decades we’ve been bombarded by sugary drinks advertising," Jolly said in a statement.

"Now for the first time Victorians will see an advertisement about the serious threat regular sugary drink consumption poses to our health.”

Australian Beverages Council chief executive Geoff Parker, however, said soft drinks were being unfairly targeted.

“Continuing to vilify soft drinks as a leading cause of obesity is distorting the reality of the health landscape in Australia," Parker said in a statement.

“To single out sugar sweetened beverages as a primary factor of chronic disease oversimplifies a complex public health issue.

"The latest Australian Health Survey showed that for the average adult, just 1.7 percent of the daily intake of kilojoules comes from soft drinks. This pales in comparison to nearly six percent from alcohol."

How Much Sugar Is In...

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice: 13.1g per 100mL

Fanta: 11.2g per 100mL

Red Bull: 11g per 100mL

Coca Cola: 10.6g per 100mL

V Energy Drink: 10.6g per 100mL

Sprite: 10.1g per 100mL

Gatorade: Fierce Grape flavour: 6g per 100mL

Lipton Ice Tea: Peach flavour: 5.3g per 100mL

Milk: 4.8g per 100mL

Source: Rethink Sugary Drink

This story has been changed to add a comment from the Australian Beverages Council.

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