New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is no stranger to fights involving public health. He’s banned smoking in restaurants and parks, he made New York the first city in the nation to ban trans fats in restaurants, and he passed a requirement that health inspection grades be posted in restaurant windows.
The latest proposal from the mayor’s office aims to place a city-wide ban on the sale of cups or bottles of all sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces. According to the New York Times, “the proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises, and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas.”
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages. It would also not extend to beverages sold in grocery stores or convenience stores. The proposal requires the approval of the Board of Health, a step that is considered likely because the members were all appointed by Bloomberg. (So that’s how that works!)
Of course, not everyone is happy about the plan. “It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity,” said a spokesperson for the New York City Beverage Association. “These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front.”
For now, we’re guessing 7-Eleven is working feverishly to rename its iconic 52-ounce Big Gulp at all NYC locations. Does anyone have any suggestions?
MARKETING LESSON: If your product falls into the category of “indulgent” goods, be forewarned: A ban on your brand could be just around the corner.