WASHINGTON — The iconic Coca-Cola “Hilltop” ad, featuring the song in which young people sang about teaching the world to sing and buying it a Coke, debuted in 1971 and was revived in the “Mad Men” finale. But now a group is putting a new spin on the familiar tune to warn people about the dangers of sugary soda consumption.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has recast the commercial as a video featuring people with diabetes, tooth decay and other maladies linked to sugary drinks, singing the old tune with new words about the dangers they’ve faced.
“I’d like to buy the world a drink that doesn’t cause disease,” goes one lyric. “I’d like to teach the world about what sugar did to me,” another patient sings.
“Soda is just one of several contributors to diet-related disease, but it’s a major one. I see the connection between soda consumption and chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity every day of the week,” says Dr. Jeffry Gerber, a physician who appears in the video, in a statement.
CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson said in the same statement that soda makers “have used the most sophisticated and manipulative advertising techniques to convince children and adults alike that a disease-promoting drink will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a multi-billion-dollar brainwashing campaign designed to distract us away from our diabetes with happy thoughts.”