Opinion: (Un)Fairlife by Coca-Cola

Katie Smith is a senior public relations major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Katie Smith

I know sex sells, but what business does it have in selling milk? And an even bigger question is what business does Coca-Cola have selling milk?

The milk Coca-Cola is trying to sell isn’t your everyday milk, according to Huffington Post. It’s called Fairlife, and it’s loaded with more protein and calcium than ordinary milk and has less sugar. The soda giant is suddenly concerned with its customer’s sugar intake. Cool.

Want to know what’s not so cool? The advertising campaign.

This advertising campaign features women “wearing” milk dresses. Some of the headlines on the ads read, “Better Milk Looks Good on You,” and “Drink What She’s Wearing.”

I understand Coca-Cola has to sell a product, but why does it have to be so sexist about it? One of the ads shows a model standing on a scale. It’s just another reminder for women that our bodies are under constant scrutiny. Coca-Cola wants to make us feel like our bodies are sub-par without its milk. If Coca-Cola succeeds, it has successfully created a demand for its ridiculous product.

Maybe I’d be a little less annoyed if men were portrayed in ads the same way. Men are typically shown as rugged, powerful and when shown with women – dominant.

Why can’t there be a version of this ad that stars a male model? Because that’d be ridiculous. But showing a nearly naked woman dripping in milk is just as ridiculous to me.

Women fight hard for equality, and then something like this happens. It’s one step forward and two steps back for women in the fight to be viewed as equals.

Women are viewed as sexual objects, who are submissive and heavily Photoshopped. I think advertisers need to be more conscientious when they’re distributing ads to the mass media.

My College Writing I class focused on advertising and its effects, and since I’ve taken that class, I’ve never looked at an ad in the same way.

If you haven’t seen any of Jean Kilbourne’s documentaries, especially her film series “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women,” I would suggest you watch one. Your view of women in the media will be changed forever.

The president of Coca-Cola North America said he thinks this product will “rain money.” And a part of me really hopes it doesn’t.