Why The Controversial Woka-Cola Commercial Has People Talking

The thing about commercials is that they can go one of so many ways. With such a short amount of time to convey their messages, it's hard, though certainly not impossible, to fully convey an image, a brand, or an idea. Sometimes, too, commercials are simply bad. (Let's not forget Kendall Jenner's Pepsi commercial and how even her family weighed in on its aftermath.) Sometimes, ads utilize catchy jingles or familiar faces to make them relatable to consumers, and sometimes companies forgo these in attempts to do something new and/or refreshing. These can still go awry.

Like Kendall Jenner's Pepsi commercial, the latest commercial that's shocking people across the United States is a cola advertisement, but not from an actual cola company. Instead, the company Consumers' Research, which aims to bring knowledge about products directly to consumers, released a commercial slamming Coca-Cola for its negative health attributes and sociopolitical hypocrisy (via Breitbart).

Titled Woka-Cola, Consumers' Research initiative has its own website in addition to its commercial. Here, Will Hild, Consumers' Research's executive director, explained, "Today, we are launching AlwaysWokaCola.com and the accompanying ads as a satirical reminder to Coke to focus on their consumers, not woke politicians. The company has taken its eye off the well-being of the customer." 

This is why some are finding this commercial problematic

Consumers' Research's Woka-Cola initiative is drawing a lot of reactions in part because its commercial is so heavy with its messaging. The commercial focuses on overweight individuals, with the ad's narrator discussing how Coca-Cola contributes to people across the United States getting diabetes (via YouTube). This occurs simultaneously as the narrator explains that the company is hypocritical for appearing "woke" in the U.S. despite using Chinese labor for its products.

This stance is drawing a lot of reactions and opinions for multiple reasons. It's coming at a time when people want companies to be socially responsible, so Consumers' Research's stance on brands not being sociopolitically active is jarring for some, though people are aware that hypocrisy is involved. Being socially conscious is nuanced. While Coke could do better with its labor practices, they should still attempt to practice corporate social responsibility, per Investopedia's definition of the term.

Twitter reactions have shown that people are generally confused by this commercial. "Have you seen the right wing 'satirical' commercial to boycott Coke for teaching about racism and white privilege in their training sessions? Is Ben & Jerry's next?" tweeted one user, while another Twitter user wrote, "Okay someone made a commercial and i saw it on tv and it was horrendous. [T]hey were essentially making diabetes a political agenda."

Comments on the ad's YouTube page, in contrast, are more supportive, with one person writing, "I no longer drink coke, no longer wear Nike's, no longer watch sports, or anything that deals with this 'wokeness,'" and another writing, "Now do Disney."