Coca Cola as we know, is one of the most successful brands in the world with strong recall and preference across the globe. Despite the best efforts of Pepsi and numerous other brands entering into the foray, nothing has yet managed to topple this. Virgin Coke in a Marylyn Monroe styled bottle made no leeway and was soon discounted. Coke is seems is one of those brands that has successfully endured the passage of time and gets passed down generation to generation.
Speaking personally for myself I am a Coke fan and nothing beats a cold glass of Coke on a warm day. Ironically though I spent 10+ years living and working in countries where Pepsi does supersede Coke, namely the Middle East. It seems the sweeter taste of Pepsi is preferred there, personally I can’t touch it, Coke is the Real Thing.
To the story. Last weekend was my son’s birthday and there were a range of children aged 5 to 12 from a different range of Nationalities – European / Indian / Jamaica. On the table there was a variety of snack and drinks laid out for the children which was manned by myself to help serve the children a cold beverage. Living in Jamaica the drinks have to be cold.
Spread out on the table were a variety of things from popcorn to fruits to fruit juice, to water to soda. Now the soda is there for the adults and there was a very large bowl with ice, full of chilled fruit juice drinks. The fruit juice had brightly coloured packaging attractive to children with characters on and looked more appealing than the soda bottles which were a single 2lt bottle of Coke and a single 2lt bottle of Ting. (Ting is a local Jamaican soda, basically sparking Grapefruit soda.)
So the table is laid out, the drinks are cold, the snacks are ready, the clown is dressed and the children arrive. Games and screaming start, photos are taken etc. etc. Then after 10 mins of running the first child comes to the table, the children’s juices and waters are set so they can just grab and run, no need for the adult service. Up they come to the table, “Can I have a drink please?” I was asked. “Of course” I say, “Would you like water or juice?” “Can I please have Coca Cola” the child replied. I had to explain this was for adults and the juice and water is for children.
They look disappointed and sad as if having a Coke was the most important thing for them at the party. Now don’t forget it’s not just a soda they want, but a Coke. So this was the first, then another child same thing, then another child same thing. It was Coke or nothing, can it really be that important for a child?
It got me to thinking the power of the Coca Cola brand, even a 5 year old is asking for a Coca Cola above all else. Now we all live in Jamaica and Coke’s advertising is not prolific and Pepsi is a very strong brand here. Yet out of all the choices they automatically went for a Coke. Bear in mind beside the Coke Bottle was a Ting Bottle yet no one asking for this, and it’s local!
It’s amazing to see how children as they grow up just fixate on brands and whether Coke realizes it or not is having its appeal being passed down from generation to generation from a very young age. Thereby it seems securing its future for generations to come.
Despite the bad publicity attributed to soda (recently in the UK they announced children are consumer their body weight in sugar!) nothing is deterring the youth no matter how hard the parents or governments try. People I know adamantly say no to all sodas for their children and on the one occasion they say yes, you should see the child’s eyes light up. What do you think will happen when they are old enough to buy their own products, they will automatically go for the soda – lets experience the freedom! Here is a screen shot from Google – Topic – Children drinking Coca Cola! Isn’t it scary?
Perhaps it’s a very clever marketing tactic by the powers that be. Allow it to be made the bad boy and everyone will want it. If you say no to a child they immediately want it more. Now soda is the bad boy and Coke being the leading soda is the worst of them all. Even when I was in school 30 years ago they placed a tooth in a cup of cola to show the end result. Nothing it seems has changed.
So perhaps rather than making soda the bad boys of the snack neighborhood where all it seems to be doing is making children want it more, generation after generation, we stop and think about how we can stop or at least reduce the desirability other than parents saying “no that is bad for you”. It’s obvious the children are not listening! After all what happens when you say to your child, here have a carrot it’s good for you! Perhaps this is tactic we should try?
My name is Daymonde and I am a multiple award winning international marketer. After graduating in Applied Economics, I started my career In London working in Market Research. Graduating during the financial crash meant it was not the best degree to have but my passion was always marketing and advertising so I looked to move into that field.