Blog: Olly WehringCoke – you can’t use that word anymore

Olly Wehring | 25 July 2006

Any casual Coca-Cola observer must have noticed that the drinks giant gets more than its fair share of critics. Barely a week goes by without a lawsuit or an accusation targeted at the company.

Coke’s take on the matter? Responding to yet another legal challenge last week, a spokesperson for Coke described the company as an “easy target” for attention-seeking claims.

The latest attack on Coke, however, strikes me as just a shade over the top. The company has come under attack for using the word ‘psycho’ in one of its adverts for new drink Coke Zero. The campaign, which suggests that life would be easier if there were fewer downsides, includes the phrase “blind dates without the psychos”.

Mental health campaigners in Scotland have attacked Coke for their use of the word ‘psycho’, calling it “extremely derogatory” and have claimed it increases the stigma around mental illness. “It is used to trivialise serious mental illness and as a shorthand for horrendous crime,” said the director of campaign group See Me.

“It was never our intention to offend people,” a spokesperson for the company told The Scotsman.

It strikes me that Coke often offends people whether it intends to or not.


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