Posts Tagged ‘coca-cola’

Coca Cola Life highlights problems of going green

by Alex Benady

Latin Americans seem to be experimenting a lot with Coke these days.

Three weeks ago it was an ice bottle in Colombia. This week it’s a green bottle in Argentina.

‘Coca Cola Life’ as it has been branded, is a new formulation of the world’s favourite soft drink that includes a mix of sugar and naturally sourced sugar substitute Stevia. As a result a 600 ml bottle has only 108 calories compared to the usual 250.

In addition Coca-Cola Life is packaged in the company’s PlantBottle, which is the first recyclable bottle made from petroleum-based materials and up to 30% plant-based materials. The hope is to create a 100% plant-based bottle in the future.

To wrap it all up, the new bottle has a rather undelicious and unrefreshing green label –surprisingly close to the ‘don’t smoke me’ olive green now used on Australian fag packets.

Executional questions aside, the new product highlights a real debate about how companies should approach green issues. Should they use green improvements as tactical/promotional devices like Coke Life seems to? Or should they embody them deep in the strategic direction of the company -like Unilever?

There is a school of thought that goes, because governments and consumers are too short term and expedient in their thinking, the lead on environmental issues has to come from corporations. Unilever has acted radically to help address this short termism by making profound adjustments to the way it operates. Most notably it has abolished quarterly financial reporting.

In contrast Coca Cola Life has all the appearance of a consumer option, not a company compulsion. In fairness to Coca Cola, while Coke Life looks like a tactical response to the environmental issue, it is quietly rolling out the Plantbottle in nine different countries. So it is serious.

But in Argentina Coke may have taken the route it has because it has a rather unique problem. One that many brands would love to have. The brand has become a straightjacket. Coke consumers are so loyal and so traditional that it cannot mess with its ingredients. Remember the New Coke fiasco in the 1980’s?

It would have been impossible for Coca Cola to launch this product under the classic Coke livery. But this puts it in a quandary. How do you embody profound changes in your product if your consumers wont let you? ENDS


Can Coca-Cola Really Make You Happy?

by Chris Button

While it might not be a recognised cure for depression, a couple of studies by The Economist suggest that there may at least be a correlation between Coca-Cola and happiness.

In 1997, The Economist took a look at the world through a Coca-Cola bottle. The following two charts were a result of this study:

The fact that there was a loose correlation between increased wealth and increased Coca-Cola consumption is not surprising. More interesting is that there was a much tighter correlation between increased HDI (Human Development Index – a measure of life expectancy, access to knowledge and standard of living) levels and increased Coca-Cola consumption. The Economist did not speculate on any possible causes for the correlation.

In 2008, The Economist took another look through the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle. This time they specifically focused on Africa:

The observation that problems within Coca-Cola’s pervasive distribution network could be used as an indicator of social upheaval well in advance of other measures led to the suggestion that Coca-Cola could be an ‘Index of Happiness’ in Africa. In cruder terms, when Africa is ‘unhappy’, Coca-Cola’s presence declines regardless of consumer purchasing power.

If any unifying conclusion can be drawn from the two Economist studies, it is that Coca-Cola consumption is broadly reflective of social harmony and equality. As Andy Warhol once put it, “A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking”.

There are many ‘happy’ brands at the moment; Coca-Cola is one of them. What can make Coca-Cola distinct is recognition of its role as the world’s greatest brand. Melinda Gates and the ColaLife movement have independently highlighted Coca-Cola’s pervasive distribution network as an example of how to bring aid to those in need. In English, there are two possible interpretations of the ‘Open Happiness’ name given to Coca-Cola’s recent campaign: open as a verb encouraging the consumer to release happiness; open as an adjective describing a kind of free-spirited happiness. The actual campaign is rooted in the former verbal interpretation. By focusing on the latter adjectival interpretation, Coca-Cola can develop from a product that influences to a brand that inspires.

Monsters Inc.

by Tom Probert

Has anyone else noticed a minor invasion of furry creatures recently? The fuzzy little critters are cropping up everywhere from Spanish car adverts to dutch mobile phone ads, even coca cola have crawled onto the bushy bandwagon. Is there a recession-based psychological reason behind this phenomenon, or is it just a cool trend that people are copying? Have they always been here and I just haven’t noticed? I’m sure there are more examples so let me know if you have any more sightings!

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