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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 7, July 2013, Posted On: 6/10/2013

NYC $1.4M Ad Campaign Plasters Anti-Sugary Drink Message On City Buses

Emily Jed
TAGS: New York City's crusade against sugary drinks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC anti-soda advertising campaign, New York City Department of Health, Pouring on the Pounds campaign, Milton A. Tingling, American Beverage Association, sugar-sweetened beverages

NEW YORK CITY -- New York City's crusade against sugary drinks is revving back up following the defeat of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to restrict their portion sizes. The city's health department has launched a $1.4 million advertising campaign that began appearing on TV and on buses around the city in early June.

The ads warn people that drinking too many sweetened drinks -- even those that seem "healthy" -- can lead to obesity and other health problems. They advise consumers that sweetened teas, sports and energy drinks and fruit-flavored beverages can have as much as or more sugar and calories than soda.

The ads steer consumers toward fat-free milk, seltzer and water. They also encourage people to eat fresh fruit instead of drinking juice, to downsize their drinks and to be wary about consuming presweetened beverages. Some of the billboards and commercials take it a step further, listing "amputation, heart attack, vision loss and kidney failure" as consequences of consuming too much sugar -- recalling the gruesome images used in Bloomberg's antismoking ads.

The campaign is a continuation of the New York City Department of Health's "Pouring on the Pounds" anti-soft drink campaign that began in 2009.

Bloomberg had attempted to enact a citywide ban on sugary drinks in cups larger than 16-fl.oz. at food establishments monitored by the city's health department earlier this year. Justice Milton A. Tingling of State Supreme Court in Manhattan struck down the proposal, calling the limits "arbitrary and capricious," echoing the complaints of city business owners and consumers. | SEE STORY

The American Beverage Association, which won a lower-court suit blocking the city from limiting soda sizes, charged that the city's new ad campaign misleads consumers by unfairly singling out sugar-sweetened beverages as a cause of obesity.

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