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By Umut Newbury
July 14, 2010

The red and white logo of Coca-Cola is one of a few international brands recognized so instantly and globally. If there is life outside of Earth, Coca-Cola would be one of the brands that would be recognized universally, too, because even Martians would have seen the Coke Santa, which debuted in The Saturday Evening Post before World War II. It’s a ubiquitous product that has made itself a lifestyle choice of billions of people.

The Coca-Cola Company didn’t achieve this by creating a product so essential to human life; instead it managed to win people’s hearts and minds by having an extremely positive and successful marketing campaign. People all over the world associate Coke products with the pursuit of happiness and an improved quality of life. From its 1963 slogan, “Things Go Better with Coke,” to the 1979 “Have a Coke and a Smile,” to the 2001 “Life Tastes Good;” its jovial Santas making an appearance each year and even the World Cup mascot every four years on the collectible cans, Coca-Cola has worked hard to make us happy while quenching our thirst with the magically fizzy combination of water and sugar (or high fructose corn) syrup. (Full disclosure: This reviewer began drinking Coca-Cola at the age of 4 and for the next quarter century or so was one such content customer, turning to Coke products for refreshment and pleasure with a daily consumption of multiple glass bottles at first, then cans and then the 20-ounce plastic bottles before finally kicking the habit in 2004.)

For those current happy-go-lucky Coca-Cola fans out there, directors German Gutierrez and Carmen Garcia have some grim news to deliver in their new documentary, The Coca-Cola Case. Their film takes that pleasant image of Santa Claus decked out in red and white and replaces it with the blood of international bottling plant workers and the pale white faces of corpses. Read the rest of this entry »