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Dr. Mike Jacobson Translates Coke Corporate Speak

Mike Jacobson is a long time food activist. He's pretty much the Ralph Nader of food. If you've ever read the side of a food package or used the term "junk food" you have Mike to thank. He coined the phrase and has been instrumental in food labeling.

Last week Mike and his Center for Science in the Public Interest released a funny yet scathing film that translates the Coca-Cola company's recent attempt to address obesity. You can check out the film above or on Youtube here

He's also offered comments and translations of Coke's recent answers to our round of 20 questions. 

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We Play 20 Questions with Coke's Lead Scientist

A few months ago, FearLess, COMMON, The Butler Bros, Jason Mraz and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched a joint film production and site called therealbears.org. The film followed a family of Soda-loving Polar Bears that winds up having the same issues with sugary drinks that many of us in real life are having: obesity, diabetes, and the complications that come with them.

The Coca-Cola company was quick to reach out to me in an effort to get me up to speed "on all the good work they are doing." At the time I had no idea they were about to attempt to enter the conversation on obesity. You can see their film here and you can see a translation of the corp. speak here.

A lunch was set up with their lead scientist, Dr. Rhona Applebaum. I showed up on time but she was early and had already taken a seat in the back. It took me a while to find her sittling at a tiny tabel by the window. My first impression was that Dr. Applebaum is perfectly cast for her role. She is a smart, articulate, thin, attractive and immaculately put together middle-aged woman who is in control of her emotions at all times. We ordered our lunch and began the search for common ground. I wish I could remember what she ordered to drink but I don't. It was either water or a Diet Coke. 

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Fearless Brands: Dr. Bronner's and the Purpose-Driven Company

Fearless Brands is a column dedicated to identifying and celebrating brands that are taking a stand, challenging the status quo, and working to build a better future. In other words, brands acting fearlessly. This is not a sponsored column, and brands do not pay to appear here. Do you know a fearless brand? Send submissions to rcangie@gmail.com


Emanuel Bronner was a traveling philosopher and master soapmaker who became a businessman somewhat by accident. A third-generation Jewish soapmaker who fled from Nazi Germany to Milwaukie, WI, in 1929, he consulted for American soap companies and traveled from state to state preaching a solution for world peace known as the Moral ABC, passing out free bottles of soap to the crowds.

Somewhere along the way, he realized that his soaps were a bigger draw than his words, so he began printing messages from the Moral ABC on the labels and selling them. Thus Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps was born.

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Fearless Brands: 37signals

Fearless Brands is a new column dedicated to identifying and celebrating brands that are taking a stand, challenging the status quo, and working to build a better future. In other words, brands acting fearlessly. This is not a sponsored column, and brands do not pay to appear here. Do you know a fearless brand? Send submissions to rcangie@gmail.com.


Jason Fried isn’t your average tech CEO. Unlike many of his peers, this best-selling author and TEDx alum (check out his talk above - it's worth watching) doesn’t worry too much about things like venture funding, IPOs, and exit strategies.

But then, 37signals, the firm he co-founded in 1999, isn’t your average tech company, either. Its CEO espouses slow business rather than rapid growth. The company has just 35 employees, though its revenue could support far more. And every summer, the entire company works only four days per week. Fried’s reasoning? “There are very few things that can’t wait till Monday.”

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Fearless Brands: Patagonia

Fearless Brands is a new column dedicated to identifying and celebrating brands that are taking a stand, challenging the status quo, and working to build a better future. In other words, brands acting fearlessly. This is not a sponsored column, and brands do not pay to appear here. Do you know a fearless brand? Send submissions to rcangie@gmail.com. 


Last holiday season, Patagonia made waves with a campaign that encouraged consumers to buy less. That’s right, a company actually spent precious marketing dollars to convince you not to buy its products, including an ad in the New York Times on Black Friday 2011 instructing consumers, "Don't buy this jacket."

This year, they're following it up with the Common Threads Initiative, described by Patagonia as "a partnership between Patagonia and our customers to reduce consumption and give our planet's vital resources a rest." Reverse psychology? Perhaps. Patagonia’s financials are looking pretty good these days, but maybe it just goes to show that you can build a strong brand and a healthy company around something bigger than a profit motive.

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