Soda Industry Panders to New Yorkers in Effort to Fight Ban

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They may not be quite as all-powerful as Big Tobacco or Big Pharma, but Big Soda isn’t about to take Mayor Bloomberg’s publicity-grabbing ban on giant fountain drinks lying down. The newly formed group New Yorkers for Beverage Choices (created and backed by the American Beverage Association) is already hard at work appealing to the freedom-loving instincts of every real New Yorker – nay, every real American. That, and appealing to the time-honored grassroots tradition of protesting on behalf of giant corporations.

Backed by local businesses including but not limited to movie theaters, delis, the Bowery Hotel, Domino’s pizza, Fire & Ice Banquet, and the Pepsi bottling plant, the group’s approach is pretty standard: petitions, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, and one very hammy radio ad entitled “Crossed the Line,” complete with heavy-handed New York accents and appeals to both Mets and Yankees fans:

“This is the stuff that you would expect any industry to do,” said a spokesman for the group. “It’s important, regardless of the endgame here, to make sure people understand the impact of this thing, to let them know how it will impact their daily lives.”

That may be, but besides the fact that they’re going up against a vote by the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health, we’re guessing New Yorkers for Beverage Choices may also run into problems actually getting locals to “Take a Stand,” as the ad puts it. While some make the argument that the proposed ban would increase the financial burden on lower income communities, you have to wonder if a constituency worried about a brittle economy and the distant dream of real health care is actually going to throw their spare time and energy into rallying for undrink-ably large sodas.

At this juncture, only one thing is certain: in addition to all the inane observations from armchair nutritionists and/or political theorists you’ve been forced to put up with, you’ll now have to deal with inane ads, too. Oh, the unexpected joys of the nanny state.