Look, Coke, just embrace the fact that you sell an unhealthy product. Stop embarrassing yourselves by pretending it’s a healthy lifestyle choice. You don’t see Krispy Kreme, Frito-Lays, or Hershey’s trying that, and they’re pretty much doing fine.
A recent paper in the Journal of Advertising suggests that online commenting may sway people as much as public service announcements (PSAs) from health authorities. Depending on who’s doing the commenting, comments may sometimes be even more influential than PSAs.
While it may seem ludicrous that people could trust online comments as much as PSAs, it’s important to remember that online comments have an important advantage: they’re seen as coming from an unbiased source. This is why product reviews by consumers online and other “electronic word-of-mouth” communications are often seen as a trusted resource.