ATLANTA: Activist groups have slammed Coca-Cola for an ad that appears to show a welfare project doling out bottles of its flagship soft drink to an indigenous community in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
In the ad, young white people are seen handing out bottles of Coke and using the caps to create a giant, red, Coca-Cola-branded Christmas tree as a centerpiece in the community.
It appears to be intended to spread Christmas joy. However, the Alliance for Food Health, made up of consumer rights and health groups, is calling for the ad to be canned.
They say that its depiction of light-skinned young people and its encouragement of consuming soft drinks insults the dignity of the community.
Mexico introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks in January 2014, resulting in a reduction of soft-drink consumption estimated at about 6% to 12%. Coca-Cola is by far the biggest player in the industry, with more than 70% of the soft-drink market.
Mexico has a diabetes epidemic, and the disease is the leading cause of death in the country. (The sugar tax was introduced to tackle this). However, Coca-Cola argues overall calorie intake causes obesity, rather than a single calorie source.
Coca-Cola did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
This story originally appeared on Marketing.