Wednesday, January 23, 2013

[PL 211] Coca-Cola's false advertising

"Vitaminwater supports a healthy immune system."

BS (in the technical sense) or lie?


  1. Coca-Cola’s false advertising is bullshit in a technical sense and not a lie. Coca Cola has made deceptive claims about Vitaminwater to give the impression that it is healthy. I consider this to be bullshit instead of a life because Coca Cola does not care about whether what they say is true or false. Coca Cola has one agenda in mind: sales. Coca Cola is targeting the young adult as the consumer, a demographic that may be more susceptible to believing the health benefits of Vitaminwater. On page 7 of “On Bullshit”, Frankfurt claims that the bullshitter is always trying to get away with something. By stating that Vitaminwater “supports a healthy immune system,” and “fights for your overall health”, it is clear to me that Coca Cola is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their customers.

    The greatest evidence of BS came from Coca Cola’s lawyers. According to the video from The Colbert Report, the lawyers said that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.” Coca Cola was fully aware of the amount of sugar in a bottle of Vitaminwater but they decided to promote its health benefits anyway. Coca Cola is a bullshitter because they had no concern for the truth. At a time when childhood obesity is a chief concern in our country, Coca Cola was bold enough to mislead their customers into thinking their product was healthy.

  2. Based on the video and comments, I think that the statement “Vitamin water supports a healthy immune system” is BS. In the report, it doesn’t state any logical or consistent facts supporting that claim, but instead just simple facts where conclusions were made. According to Frankfurt, Frankfurt tells us that bullshit is a deceptive misrepresentation that is short of lying of someone thoughts or feelings. In other words, it is a deliberate misrepresentation. Basically, he/she that is doing the BS doesn't care about the actual truth, but he/she cares more about the outcome. He/she cares more about the image that is being perceived. BS and lies are two different concepts. In bullshit, the person knows some but not all of the truth and still decides to bullshit it for its own purpose.
    For example, the vitamin water advertising claims that it is healthy and good for your body but there was no data or research to back that claim up. The funny thing is that a report claims that in vitamin water there is 33 grams of sugar just like in a bottle of coke. Now, how is that healthier for our body? If the company knew such information and still decides to claim it is healthy, then that is BS. However, even with that little information, the company might not even know the full truth. Nowadays when most people purchase things that “claim” to be good for us, they would like to see the data that supports that claim. Colbert had a point when he says what consumer would believe vitamin water is healthy just because of the claims.
    Finally, since there are other claims and research that Vitamin water is not as healthy as it claims, then they are bullshitting.

  3. The statement “Vitaminwater supports a healthy immune system” is bullshit in the technical sense of the word. Bullshit occurs when the statement does not show proper concern for the truth; lying occurs when the statement is concocted when knowing the truth and choosing to state something else. Coca Cola’s statement is bullshit because the company does not care if the beverage is not healthful; the statement itself is just one more way to make a profit. Also, the website states the level of vitamins in the beverage, which is not being untruthful; however, the web page does not announce the unhealthy side of the drink, illustrating the company’s disregard for the truth.

  4. According to Frankfurt, Coca Cola’s false advertising of their drink Vitamin Water would be considered BS. Frankfurt defines BS in a few ways; one as showing no proper concern for the truth. He also says the BS’er cares about producing a certain impression in the minds of the people they’re addressing. This is exactly what Coca Cola does with their false advertising. The company named the product Vitamin Water giving people/consumers the impression that the water has vitamins in it and therefore is healthy. But not only is the product name deceiving, the bottle label says it’s good for your health, filled with anti-oxidants, fights diseases, etc. In reality, the drink has very few vitamins in it which are definitely overpowered by the tons of sugar in the drink. Coca Cola clearly has no concern for the truth because the company tries to manipulate consumers with the enticing and misleading title and words regarding vitamins and health in order to increase selling of the product.


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