Can One of the World’s Biggest Producers of Junk Food Help Solve the Latest World Health Crisis?

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As the threat of Ebola hammers ever more loudly home, many Americans are left wondering whether or not we have the capabilities to fight off the disease, should it ever find a foothold in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said on multiple occasions that they have protocols in place and specialized treatments ready to go. Yet, with reports of American healthcare workers in Texas having contracted the virus — the first cases of Ebola being contracted on American soil in the nation’s history — many are skeptical that the CDC can handle the job alone if these isolated incidents turn into something more widespread.

 Additionally, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the corporation's charitable branch, has partnered with the CDC, promising ongoing financial support for research that will hopefully yield an effective treatment.
Additionally, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the corporation’s charitable branch, has partnered with the CDC, promising ongoing financial support for research that will hopefully yield an effective treatment.

Hoping to ensure Americans’ fears are never realized, Coca-Cola, the American soda behemoth known for its exceptionally successful marketing campaigns that transformed the simple Coke logo into an international icon, has given $200,000 worth of protective equipment to healthcare organizations in the West African nations most affected by the disease. Additionally, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the corporation’s charitable branch, has partnered with the CDC, promising ongoing financial support for research that will hopefully yield an effective treatment.

Coke’s Campaign Isn’t One of Pure Altruism

Coca-Cola’s commitment to fighting Ebola can only be seen as a good thing. A recent BBC report puts the death toll from the outbreak at more than 4,400 people, and Coca-Cola’s donations could do a lot in keeping that number down. All of that said, it’s not as though this is a purely altruistic endeavor on the part of the soft drink company.

Coca-Cola has sought to rebrand itself this year as a company that is interested in being part of a healthy lifestyle. The brand’s image has taken a beating over the last few years, as increasing numbers of studies have tied high levels of sugar — the substance Coca-Cola deals in — to diabetes, obesity, cancer, and more.

This donation, naturally, means good things for the fight against Ebola, but the fact that it also helps promote the image of a newer, more wholesome Coca-Cola is no coincidence.

What do you think of Coca-Cola’s efforts to help fight Ebola? Is it a marketing ploy, or are they truly interested in helping? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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