Is it all a lie?

As I was reading my Daily Dog PR Biz report on the overwhelming increase of beverages on the market from the two leading Cola giants I ran across this:

“This spring, for example, Coke will launch Diet Coke Plus , a no-calorie drink fortified with vitamins and minerals such as B12 and zinc. This fall, Pepsi will roll out Tava , a caffeine-free, calorie-free drink with added vitamins including B3, B6 and E. As an image booster, Coke now refers to drinks as healthier-sounding "sparkling," rather than "carbonated," in press releases, earnings reports and other communications.”

I was bothered by the bolded statement because to me it implies that we, public relations professionals, have made conscious decisions to mislead people. That’s unethical. And we are all about ethical behavior, right?

After sitting on my soapbox I started thinking about my day-to-day activities. I too am guilty of trying to make things appear good. What does this say about me, our profession, and the professionals that represent it? Are we truly being ethical and can we truly say that we are not spin doctors?

I know in my heart that our motives are true and not laced with malice, but really…sparkling instead of carbonated for a healthier sound? We preach honesty at every turn so why not be honest about all aspects of the product?

What do you think?