Happy Holidays, dear reader. We learned this week that we won't be seeing as much of the polar bears in those Coke commercials this season. It seems Coke has severely trimmed their commercial ad budget and reallocated those millions toward hurricane relief in the Philippines. Within hours of that horrific storm, Coke had dispatched every available Coca Cola truck and driver into neighborhoods with Coke and bottled water.
Call it smart marketing, or call it humanitarian concern but Coke always seems to be in the forefront of efforts to get their brand out there! And folks, that's why Coke continues to rule the "soda roost". We elders can still remember when Pepsi tried to cut into Coke's market share by offering "12 big ounces" when Coke was being retailed in those cute little 8 ounce bottles. Didn't work.
And as the years went by, and Pepsi became a huge conglomerate, with KFC and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut and other fast food franchises they still couldn't move Coke to "number 2". It's hard to conquer an American icon and that's what Coke has been for 130 years. Of course, they no doubt got off to a quick start by having the original formula spiced with a bit of cocaine. Everyone felt just a little better after drinking a Coke back then!
But it has always been Coca Cola's marketing that has kept them number 1. I remember reading a business case study of how Coke and Pepsi entered the India market. Pepsi put a lot of money into incentivizing store owners to give them shelf space. Then Coke one upped them when they gave every merchant a refrigerator so that they could sell cold Cokes.
And who can forget that catchy little song from the 70's where a whole mess of hippies were standing in a flower laden meadow singing "I'd like to buy the world a coke"….hell, the hippies were pissing in their pants to drink coke…"peace, baby!"
Last year I read a book called Naked Economics; it detailed various business success stories and, again, Coke shone in the limelight. It seems that, days before the Berlin Wall came down, Coke had already commandeered every one of those bright red Coke trucks in Western Europe and then plowed into those Eastern Block countries handing out Cokes even as they were rejoicing in the streets! Nothing like a huge American icon joining in a happy celebration, huh? Ya think that might sell a few cokes?
So, if you see a little less of those cute polar bears this Christmas season, know that it's for a good cause; good for those poor folks in the Philippines and definitely good for Coke!