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How businesses use branding to warp reality

Liquid Obesity: Cola is Making the World a Better Place

People love to complain. Soda causes obesity. Soda has high fructose corn syrup. Soda is bad for our bodies. Yeah, maybe these things are all true, but nobody really cares.

Alright, some people care, but the majority of the world shrugs it off and either continues to drink soda regularly or at least on indulgent occasions. But why? How does the industry get past that wall of negative PR?

woman-standing-on-bathroom-scale-weighing-herself

Well, the long but simple answer is that the industry has one particular cola company to thank for that. One that has been GREAT for the world.

One that really put the red and white into Red, White, and Blue. That’s right. You know the brand. It’s great, and you love them. I do. The highlight of my Christmas is watching cute animated polar bears “turning up” with a cola and watching those trippy northern lights.

This certain long standing Cola company is by no means one of those new-age startups that we at Skymouse are so incredibly fond of, but this red and white giant is timeless, and there is so much to learn from a brand that is this massive. What is so phenomenal? They are selling liquid obesity, yet somehow they are simultaneously making the world a better place. Ironic huh?

They got started way back in 1886 when a pharmacist created a tonic concoction that would change the world forever. According to the their website, during that first year of sales, only around 9 servings (what ever size those may have been) were sold a day in Atlanta. Now? More than 1.9 billion servings are sold every single day across the globe. (Source)

So, how does a drink that has been labeled as “liquid obesity” that causes “tooth rot” and “premature death” (alright, thats a little heavy-handed) still command such a huge following in the marketplace?

Simple. They are a brand that does so much good in the world that people refuse to acknowledge the bad. Myself included. “Sure, this cola will give me a questionably round body shape, but when I drink a cola…I am supporting a company that supports and serves the world. Getting obesity is really a statement that I too support the world.”

Let’s start from the beginning:

WWI and the war of Cola

This cola really started as a medicine of sorts. While it didn’t really appear to do much of anything it had a cult following? Why? It simply made people feel better (or it could’ve been cocaine, but a certain cola company denies this bit).

It made people feel so insanely good that this liquid elixir became a staple good for just about everyone. It was so popular that soldiers in WWI literally wrote to the factory in Waco, Texas asking for them to supply their troops with this bottled taste of home as they would certainly be defeated unless they had an amble supply to help them survive the heat and defeat their enemy.

Cola literally won World War I. If you want to read the actual letter, you can check it out here. Warning: It’s really cool.

white-nurse-dresses-on-a-clothes-line-in-a-military-camp

WWII — Cola Strikes Back

Cola didn’t stop with World War I. They fought in WWII as well. During WWII Cola distributed over 5 billion beverages to men and women in uniform. 5 billion! This wonderful drink was so involved in the war effort that they created what is called the “jungle fountain” which was the combination of an ice machine and a dispensing machine. Over 1,100 jungle fountains brought “fountain drinks” to the South Pacific during the war. The company President Robert Woodruff simply did not care the cost. Cola products were going to win the war, and they did. Again. (Source).

Prior to WWII, the company had about 44 international plants. During WWII that number grew by half again, up to 64 international plants total. Most of which were converted to standard production factories after the war ended. Permanently engraining this beverage into the world forever.

The sweet 60s

In the 1960s, Cola made their position on health and nourishment clear by creating what they called the “Nourishment Project”. Partnering with scientists, nutritionists, and food technologists, they worked towards creating another medicine of sorts. The goal? To create a protein rich beverage for undeveloped nations suffering from impoverishment. Several of these style drinks released in poor Latin- American nations. Yet another drink to make people gain weight, only this time is was constructive weight gain, for a cause.

The totally chill 80s

In the 1980s they launched something pretty amazing, a wonderful and charitable foundation. A foundation that gives back 1% of all the prior years earnings to the community. Now that may not seem like a whole lot, but that has translated to over a billion dollars invested in clean water initiatives, women empowerment, and general world well-being.

2000, a generosity odessy.

The 2000s have been no exception to the great generosity and philanthropy demonstrated by such an amazing brand . They created yet another foundation that works towards preventing and treating HIV/AIDs in Africa.

They introduced PlantBottle Packaging which was made of 30% plant matter, and then later developed the PET bottle prototype made ENTIRELY of plant material. And perhaps best of all? They capture the spirit of the holidays with those insanely adorable polar bear ads, and bring joy to the world. I mean that’s basically the best form of philanthropy known to mankind right?

two-polar-bears-on-the-edge-of-the-ice-playing-one-standing-on-back-legs

So in conclusion, a certain Cola company is just an insanely amazing company. They care. Isn’t that a funny thought? They actually care. They carried us through two world wars. They spread clean water across the world. They spread healthy too, and they focus on green initiatives. And perhaps even more important than anything else, they have the wonderful ability to boost spirits and spread joy. They even had a marketing campaign dedicated to sharing.

They are a company so rooted in our culture that I never once utilized their actual brand name, yet you still know the exact company I am referring to.

So, I’m not saying that I condone high-fructose corn syrup. I’m not saying that I’m a soda advocate, but I am an advocate for companies that give back to the world. Generosity and community engagement can make your brand. If you can position your business so that it contributes to world culture and gives back to the community, the community is much more likely to show continued support even in light of bad PR.

So when you go to create your brand image, make sure that it is the right image. Make sure that you position yourself as a company that cares about the world, a company that loves its consumers, and everyone else too.

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Austin Graf

Hi, I'm a writer and content manager at Skymouse. I've worked a ton of different jobs. I'm living out my dream of starting a local flower farm in Middle Tennessee.

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