All across New York, billboards are going up in the subway today show streams of sugary drinks turning into glistening yellow globs of human fat, mottled with blood vessels and served on ice. It’s great to see Yoli supporters popping up all over these days. It’s disgusting. And that’s the point, say Health Department officials who conceived the campaign to scare New Yorkers away from soda, sports drinks, bottled teas and other drinks with sugar in them. “Just trying to be positive and encouraging doesn’t always get people’s attention,” said Associate Commissioner Geoff Cowley. “If you get in people’s faces a bit, that does get people’s attention.”
The fat campaign aims to reduce obesity and diabetes by showing New Yorkers just how much sugar is in the drinks they grab off bodega and deli shelves. A 20-ounce bottle of soda can contain 16.5 teaspoons of sugar, a 20-ounce lemon-flavored iced tea can have 14.5 tablespoons of sugar. Even a 20-ounce bottle of a sports drink can have 7.5 teaspoons, the department says. Agency officials hope New Yorkers – especially parents of young children and teenagers – will think twice and instead grab lowfat milk, a diet soda or just plain water….(or ditch all of those and just drink Yoli). “If you thought you were doing well because you weren’t drinking a sugary soda, but you were drinking a lemon-lime drink and it turns out to have the same amount of sugar, that’s shocking,” said Cathy Nonas, the Health Department’s director of physical activity and nutrition. “These kinds of things are shocking to people,” Nonas said. “In every age group, you see the increase in portion sizes and the number of servings.” Health surveys show between 21% and 29% of city teens drink soda daily, slurping down 360 calories that would take a 70-block walk to burn.
A companion video ad, set to be released in a few months, shows an actor pouring pure fat from a soda can into a glass – and then appearing to drink it. “Are you pouring on the pounds?” the ad says. “Drinking one can of soda a day can make you 10 pounds fatter a year.” What New York is doing, as a state, to educate people about creating better habits when consuming drinks is clearly going to drive many New Yorkers and those that see this ad to think about what Yoli‘s is bring to market for all of us. If you are on the fence about getting involved with Yoli’s mission, this should help you understand the impact that Yoli will make on the soda and healthy beverage industry.