March 14, 2012 § 6 Comments
I came across the piece “Coca-Cola in Africa” a few days ago and was reminded instantly of one of the many observations I made while travelling through multiple cities and towns in Sri Lanka: Coca-Cola is everywhere. Well, not everywhere everywhere, but almost. This post on the ubiquity of Coca-Cola in Kenya (both in branding and in business) is interesting because it frames it within the “corporate responsibility” framework, which no doubt is one way of looking at it. Meanwhile, in full-on responsible mode, Coca-Cola will do the heroic thing of changing its recipe to avoid giving you cancer.
As for Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka, people I asked didn’t really have an answer for the prevalence of the brand name everywhere beyond, “Well, it’s Coca-Cola!” (The people I asked being mainly extended/distant relatives. Clearly, I need new relatives.) No matter, back in 2010 Coca-Cola was “excited” by Sri Lanka’s potential. Post-war economies are so exciting, etc.!
Also, I thought I took plenty of pictures of Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka, but I could only find three. Clearly this was a case of “I need to take a picture of that Coca-Cola sign and I am going to do it right no–OOOH LOOK AT THAT BIG SHINY BUDDHA!” because I have about a kabillion Buddha pictures but not enough Coca-Cola signage.
Also, Panadol branding everywhere. Again, I thought I had taken pictures of Panadol-everywhere-in-Sri-Lanka but it turns out I have only one:
I always thought that you shouldn’t mix your Panadol with your Coca-Cola, but the good folk of Yahoo! Answers say, no, go right ahead.
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I also suffer Deceptive Recollection Syndrome about the photographs I thought I took but didn’t.
Otherwise, I read somewhere that many top brand soft drinks are associated with baby bottle tooth decay amongst Native American and Inuit populations. Damage is on the march in established as well as emerging economies, being my vague point.
Indeed! What I would like is a camera that will intuit the kind of pictures I’d want to take and remind me beforehand. Is that too much to ask?
And yes to your second point.
Did you catch this?
No, this is the first I’ve seen it — thanks. It’s actually quite a brilliant affect campaign: buy a Coke for a stranger on the other side of the world & keep the good feelings circulating! Make the world a smaller place! (And how could you not get on board with this idea of making the world a smaller place unless you’re a killjoy, etc.)
Oh, I was so hoping you’d post some photos from your trip. I like the big fat coke bottle/ structure especially.
I found this flip use of Coca Cola’s marketing penetration in Tanzania fascinating. Although it probably is one of the few global cases where their distribution routes are used to fulfill a social need.
Hello! And yes, that’s my fav one too.
That’s an interesting piece indeed. “Coke’s success … makes you wonder, ‘How is it that they can get Coke to these far-flung places?’ If they can do that, why can’t governments and NGOs do the same thing?” I think the how is tied to ka-ching!, Mrs. Gates.