For 44 years it has been the catchy, iconic advert that encourages us to buy a bottle of Coke.
Filmed in 1971, Coca Cola’s ‘Hilltop’ anthem, a tune better known today with its lyrics ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’, saw singers from all over the globe declaring their wish to ‘buy the world a Coke and keep it company’.
The commercial emerged again recently when it appeared in the season finale of the hit show Mad Men.
Now, however, one US public health organisation has re-incarnated the ad – to highlight the very real health risks of sugary drinks – and the damage they have caused to the people who most likely watched the original ad 44 years ago.
Watch the video here – and the original below
The remake stars real people suffering from diabetes, tooth decay, weight gain, and other diseases that have been associated with sugary drinks and soda – something many accuse Coca-Cola and its competitors of glossing over.
Those behind it hope the message it sends will help reduce the devastating health impact of fizzy drinks both in America and around the world.
The video was created by a nonprofit health advocacy organisation, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
In a statement, CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson, said: ‘For decades, Coca-Cola and other big soda companies have spent billions of dollars trying to convince Americans and citizens around the world that soda equals happiness.
‘They have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-promoting drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside.
‘It’s a multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign designed to distract us away from our diabetes with happy thoughts.
He added: ‘We thought it would be interesting to see a fresh take on the Hilltop ad – where real people, suffering from real soda-related health problems – could tell their stories. It’s time to change the tune.’
Soda and other sugary drinks are the leading source of calories in the American and many other Western diets.
They raise the risk of diabetes, tooth decay, and weight gain – conditions experienced by the Denver residents who participated in the film.
I see the connection between soda consumption and chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity every day of the week -DrJeffry Gerber, a Denver physician who appeared in the film.
‘Soda is just one of several contributors to diet-related disease, but it’s a major one,’ said Dr Jeffry Gerber, a Denver physician who appeared in the film.
‘As a physician who asks all of my patients about the foods and drinks they choose, I see the connection between soda consumption and chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity every day of the week.
‘It’s hard to ask patients to practice moderation when all of the advertising, marketing, and overall ubiquity of soda rewires people to overconsume sugary drinks.’
Coca-Cola called it ‘irresponsible and the usual grandstanding from CSPI.
CSPI is providing Spanish, Portuguese, French, Hindi, and Mandarin translations of the lyrics used in the new film as a resource for health advocates around the world, where Coke and Pepsi are investing billions of dollars a year to promote the consumption of their products.