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Sick and tired of sick and tired

Optimize Blog - April 16, 2010 - 0 comments

Hard on the heels of our questions around Coke’s influence on the ethical Innocent brand we hear today of a Coke advert in the UK suggesting that “taking a sickie” is ok.
Wording on the Glaceau Vitamin Water brand owned by Coca-Cola says: “If you’ve had to use sick days because you’ve actually been sick, then you’re seriously missing out.” It goes on to say “The trick is to stay perky and use sick days to just, not go in.”
Understandably this advert has upset business owners despite Coke’s protestations about it being a tongue in cheek marketing campaign. Sick days that are taken as an entitlement rather than for their intended purpose have reached epidemic proportions in some places and clearly cost business and industry a significant amount of money running into billions of dollars annually.
A spokesman for Coke also defended the commercial as “demonstrating the brand’s personality” although quite what type of personality that is or why it would be promoted must be up for question. Is the individual who takes time off work claiming a fake illness now someone to be admired?
This brings into focus the dilemma for employers who wish to provide a place of employment that takes due care of its employees only to suffer because of unscrupulous values and behaviours exhibited by some employees and now made fun of by the drinks giant.
The Forum of Private Business said it was “unacceptable to encourage workers to throw ‘sickies’ in order to sell a soft drink. A company of the standing of Coca-Cola should know better”. Here at Zeitgeist we like irony and humour in advertizing and irreverent humour where appropriate but in this case we’re with the business owners……

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