Friday, September 08, 2006

Chronicles of Coca-Cola: From Cocaine to Coffee


What drink won't Coca-Cola control?? Posted by Picasa

The popular drink has quite a history. It has been used to boost morale of political parties, encourage family values, sponsor sports, or simply sell like crazy. The largest growing demographic for its purchase in recent years is among Chinese youth. Every Christmas you can see polar bears and Santa Claus drink it on TV. It used to actually contain cocaine until 1929. (1) Now, if you need something that will remove the rust on your hubcaps (or give you an ulcer), get out your coke bottle.

During World War II, Coke had the interests of American soldiers in mind. The Coca-Cola company set up 64 bottling plants around the world and Robert Woodruff sent an order to: “See that ever man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca Cola for 5 cents wherever he is and whatever the cost to the company".

Coke sponsored the 1936 Nazi Olypmics when Hitler sought to showcase the physical superiority of the Aryan race.

After the US entered the war in 1941, Max Keith could no longer get Coke to produce syrup for Germany (there was an embargo) so he created a new orange drink called Fanta (short for “Fantasie” or Fantasy) specifically for the market of the Third Reich, which was later bought by Coke in 1960. (2)

Coke owns Dasani, which bottles water. You might wonder: what does "Dasani" mean anyway? This is a common question to which the corporate website compliments you for asking: "GOOD QUESTION. FOR THAT MATTER, HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN? HOW WIDE IS THE STREAM? WHAT'S THE PRICE OF TEA IN CHINA – AND WHAT WOULD THAT TEA TASTE LIKE IF YOU MADE IT WITH DASANI? YOU SEE, THESE ARE THE TYPE OF QUESTIONS THAT DON'T HAVE EXACT ANSWERS, BUT WHILE WE CAN'T SAY EXACTLY WHAT DASANI MEANS, WE'RE PRETTY SURE IT SOUNDS CRISP, AND FRESH TASTING. AT LEAST THAT'S OUR STORY AND WE'RE STICKING WITH IT." (3)

In English class we called that "circumlocution".

But not everyone loves the corporation responsible for Coke. In poorer countries, citizens have fought with it over how it has damaged the quality of basic resources like water and monopolized the market, executing evils like these.

Now Coke will apparently dabble in another vastly traded commodity: coffee.

It announced it will open up a new brand of specialty and convenience coffees and teas in both the high-end specialty coffee and convenience markets. With its new brand “Far Coast” it will offer freshly brewed espressos and lattés in cafes and restaurants. A concept store under the
same name is scheduled to open in Toronto on Sept 22, 2006 where customers will be able to choose from a wide variety of seemingly exotic blends. Now I suppose you could make your Far Coast coffee with Dasani water, and you would have a 100% Coca-Cola product.

Coffee-in-a-box, a ready-made solution for distributing coffee and tea, will make its way to convenience stores under the brand name “Chaqwa” (from “cha” and “qawah”) which means coffee and tea in Arabic and Mandarin respectively. (3)

There are many problems with the trade of coffee, from how much the growers make, whether they employ or enslave children and how well they are protected to treat the environment with respect for sustainability.

It is up to you how and who you support which in turn controls the fate of the world's producers through your consumer habits. We may live in a democratic country but we also live in a global economy, where our dollars count for a kind of power others can't afford. What you sip reflects who you give your money to. Remember that who you give your money to will one day control what you sip.


1) http://www.newstarget.com/003228.html
2) http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-food/coca_cola.htm
3) http://www.dasani.com
4) http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2006/09/04/daily22.html


Business

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post. You so need to land a job that let's you use your talents.

-Jason (DJRed)

10:20 AM  
Anonymous {illyria} said...

i think the reason why i don't really enjoy reading the news is because it doesn't affect me or move me into action the way your piece does. brilliant.

~the girl FKA transience

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Ew. Coca-coffee? I think not.

I don't know if that'll take off...I think some groups may object to the name: that its a bastardization of two other languages. And there's the whole "I hate Coke" thing too.

Well written, Sir Barrett

11:40 AM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Very well written.

Seeing that caffine is my only addiction left, I applaud your revelations!

8:31 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Funny, I wonder
would Coca Cola or Coke
ever have been so popular
if called cafe cola

I mean,
I like iced tea & iced coffee
but they don't quite go work
carbonated with bubbles

8:37 AM  
Blogger Kunstemæcker said...

I want to try RC Cola, but they don't sell it in Europe.

2:10 AM  

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