Health Department Still Bugging out About Soda Drinking, Introduces New Subway Ads


According to the Health Department, the proportion of New York City adults guzzling one or more calorie-laden drinks per day decreased by about 12 percent between 2007 and 2009, and 17 percent among 18- to 24-year-olds. Despite those seemingly positive strides, however, they’ve ushered forth a whole new spate of subway ads on the 3 and 5 lines to remind you that sugared sodas are bad for you.

Remember the old gross-out ads that looked like someone was pouring waves of delicious fat in a glass? These are slightly more appetizing — a slew of sugar packets hover over your beverage to indicate how much sweetener is actually in the drink. They’re also a little passive-aggressive, or maybe just plain aggressive, with the tagline “Your kid just ate 26 packs of sugar.” (Who says we have kids?)

Why the switch, though? Were the fat ads too gross? Or are New Yorkers just inured to them by now?

The Health Department didn’t exactly answer those questions, instead saying that the new ads “go a step further” (than drinking fat?) and that “few of us would knowingly eat that much sugar in one sitting, let alone feed it to our kids.” Therefore, “This campaign raises a compelling question: If you wouldn’t eat it, why drink it?”

Ah, existential thoughts for our future subway ride. The good news: The new ads are less disgusting than the previous ones, so if your eyes alight on them after an evening of downing rum and Cokes you won’t need to reach for a sick bag.