The Magic of Coca-Cola

In this day and age, Coca-Cola is like a religion. As seen on the side of an American church, “God is like Coke. He is the Real Thing.” Coca-Cola is “The People’s Champagne”, its what people the whole world over in 200 plus countries drink to celebrate and refresh themselves. It’s the best bottle of red on the table and every year is a vintage. Everyone whoever they are drinks the same drink and every individual gets to speak a little English when they say “OK- hello- Coca-Cola”. It is a global brand yet creates much employment locally.

Coca-Cola has its symbols: the contour shaped bottle, the font used, the ribbon underneath the script, the secret ingredients formula. It has its stories such as not actually creating but certainly standardizing the image of Father Christmas in the red and white uniform we all recognize. The Coca-Cola Company made Coke available to soldiers during the second world war by setting up mobile bottling plants and thereby introduced the world to Coca-Cola.

The drink has its heroes, in particular the head of the company for 50 years until the 1980s, Robert W. Woodruff, a man of great modesty who did not like to be photographed, and made many large donations of his wealth anonymously. Its great if you get to the stage where the bigger you are, the less you have to shout about it, and Mr. Woodruff certainly got there. He ensures that everyone involved in the business of Coca-Cola could profit from their association, from the employees to the bottlers to the retailers of the product. This is a great way to be successful in business: let everyone involved earn a return commensurate to their efforts.

One of the other outstanding Coca-Cola personalities was Roberto C. Goizueta who was chief executive of Coca-Cola from 1981 to his death in October 1997. Under his stewardship, Coca-Cola rediscovered its sole focus on non-alcoholic beverages and restructured the global bottling system to increase the efficiencies of getting products to consumers. The value of The Coca-Cola Company rocketed. Woodruff put the foundations of the Coca-Cola system in place and Goizueta cemented them.

Coca-Cola is perfect on the outside, and perfect on the inside. It is attractively packaged and branded in a great contour shape with a good name and reputation. And it is bubbly, tasty and refreshing on the inside.

Some people hold a slightly negative feeling about Coca-Cola, and especially high consumption of the product. The product is said to have originally contained small extracts of cocaine. These days, its effects on the teeth, liver, the cocaine, caffeine, phosphoric acid… is it addictive?

What Coca-Cola is to the physical world, the Internet is electronically. Both Coca-Cola and the Internet are widely distributed, around the corner from anywhere, with low entry barriers to access, enduring, global, with that slight unknown edge. Coca-Cola has co-existed in different political regimes and the Internet lets people say what they think. The content of both Coca-Cola and the Internet is of wide appeal. The sole advantage of the Internet is that it is electronic and therefore can display any information. The great advantage of Coca-Cola is it is well packaged and distributed and the content is great too and that is ultimately the reason for its enduring popularity. And so too must there be better and better content on the Internet. And both Coca-Cola and the Internet increasingly find themselves in every household.

The truth of the matter is that Coca-Cola is a “luxurious necessity”, one of those small things like our favorite magazine, chocolate bar or song that ever more people can afford to enjoy day in day out, no matter what. Thankfully.

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