Coca Cola Marketing

A. Past and current advertising campaigns within Coca Cola:

The coca cola company was invented by John Pemberton in 1886. During these years Pemberton advertised at a cost of 77 dollars while his profits amounted to 50 dollars only and this led to a loss and he was forced sell a portion of his company, due to this he sold a portion of the company to Candler who later acquired the whole company.

Coca cola brands are sold in over two hundred countries and have over 6 billion consumers all over the world. The company today is worth approximately 60 billion dollars as per the stock market. This growth in worth and in terms of market share has been attributed to advertisement strategies that the company has adopted over time. Advertising in these early years of the company was done on billboards and newspapers, the newspapers had a coupon which consumers would claim a free drink at any distributor, this was one of the methods that led to the success of the company in those years

Candler sold the company to Ernest Woodruff who later gave the company to his son Robert Woodruff, Robert had very influential marketing strategies, and he focused on contributing in colleges, universities and organisations, despite never leaving any name for the contribution this really increased sales level of the company, radio advertising of coca cola started in the year 1930 and in 1950 coca cola started advertising its product on television.

Christmas promotion of the company started in the year 1931. This involved the use of coke

Coca Cola Marketing

Santa to promote the product in the market. From the above marketing strategy discussed it is clear that coca cola advertising first started advertising through bill boards and newspapers and as technology advanced the company further started advertising over the radio and television.

Other changes were made to the product and this include branding, the packaging of the companies product has evolved through the years example in 1923 the six bottle carton was introduced, in 1960 the coke can, in 1915 the contour bottle and in the 1978 the two litre bottle

In 1985 however the company tried to change its formula and its royal customers reacted negatively to this change, the company planned on introducing a new product for the market but this failed and the company lost its market share to other companies such as Pepsi, realising the mistake the company switched back to its original formula.

The company has also tried to market itself through the sponsoring of sports activities, over the years the company has sponsored the Olympics and other sporting activities and this is how they have been able to achieve popularity all over the world because today the company sells its products in over two hundred countries, other sporting activities that the company has sponsored include the NBA, NASCAR, NCAA, FIFA world cup and the English Football League.

One of the major competitors of the coca cola company is Pepsi, Pepsi was invented by Caleb Braham in 1890, and Pepsi was advertised in newspapers starting 1929 where its advert unlike the coca cola promotional coupon the Pepsi company advert portrayed a race driver as a bully

Coca Cola Marketing

drink before a race. In 1929 the company went bankrupt and it was sold to Roy Megargel and again in 1937 and it was sold to Charles Guth, the rise in sales level of the product of the company was as a result of a cut in the price of drink by half and this was made public through a radio advertisement, the reduction in price led to a substantial increase in popularity and sales level.

The Pepsi advertisement campaign was different in the 1940 where the company realised that adverts ignored certain groups in the society, Pepsi targeted the African American community, this helped create a niche market for their product, however in 1950 the adverts failed following a criticism that the drink was only meant for a certain group in the society.

Both companies therefore used the same marketing strategies although coca cola succeeded in creating a drink for all, although the coca cola company failed in changing the formula for its drink in the past it has maintained the lead in the soft drink market. However this shows how the advertisement and marketing strategies have evolved over the years, today both companies have still maintained television and radio advertising and also the sponsoring of sport activities.

B. Coca Cola approach to advertising

Advertising has played a major role in marketing products of the coca cola company, the use of radio advertising has been one of the oldest means of advertising used by the company, the main aim of this type of advertising is to reach a large portion of the population, the mass media is a means of shaping the popular culture of the population and if people are changed to think that drinking coca cola drinks is the way of life then the advertisement is successful.

Coca Cola Marketing

Television advertising is another means of advertising, this form of advertising is a more expressive form due to the use of both sound and film, the aim of this form of advertising is convince and persuade the consumers that coca cola is the number one drink and it is the only refreshing drink. Other adverts by coca cola involve the mixing of the brand with football, the company realises that there are very many football fans and for this reason they advertise their product using the game.

The use of testimonials is one of the best methods used in advertising, this is the use of famous people to advertise the product and for this reason the consumers will transfer the feelings of those people into the product. An example is where Pepsi uses a popular race driver to advertise its product as a way of gaining advantage over its rival. Coca cola has also used the coke Santa during Christmas period as a way of creating a positive opinion over its products.

The use of band wagon is another form of advertising strategy, this strategy is aimed at showing the consumers that the product is number one and because consumers always want to be on the winning side they will purchase the product, this has been used by the coca cola company whereby in its advertisement the company tends to portray that it is the number one drink and that it is the largest company in the world.

Name calling is also another form of strategy used in advertising, it involves the use of negative labels on competitors in order to place them in unfavourable position, this is evident in the coca cola case whereby it changed its formula and Pepsi used this opportunity to show that coca cola was only aiming at making its drinks taste like Pepsi.

The use of Glittering generalities is another form of advertising strategy, this involves the use of appealing words which look attractive, advertisements are prepared in such a way that they are

Coca Cola Marketing

appealing to the genera public, example in the coca cola company a 1970 advertising campaign used a song that had such words as “perfect harmony”. This word phrase has no much meaning but it sounds attractive, for this reason therefore the company over the years has used this strategy to win a larger market share.

The company therefore tend to show the consumer that their products are the most widely consumed and that it is the number one product, it also tends to show that their products are the best, other products tend to be on the losing side and because consumers want to be on the winning side they will choose the product. The use of popular people such as football players and the sponsoring of such events tend to place the drink in a better position because people tend to transfer their feelings toward their heroes into the product.

Concluding the advertisement strategy analysis it is clear that coca cola has achieved its objectives, it acts as a monopoly in most countries as the provider of soft drinks, the change in the formula in the early years led to a mass protest that oversaw the company switching back to its old formula, this shows that the product has royal consumers who prefer the drink over other products. Advertising have played a major role in the success of the company and technological advancement have led into even more success to the company.

Coca Cola Marketing

Coca Cola Marketing

C. The company’s future advertising

Advertising involves the persuasion and informing consumers on the available products, the company has not succeeded in the use of card slacking in its advertisement campaign, card slacking is the use of facts to convince the consumers that the use of the product will result into certain advantages, example a company would state that it had been proved that the consumption of product A has resulted into the reduction of the occurrence of disease B. the coca cola may state that their drinks are refreshing and an individual will gain essential nutrients but they do not provide information on what other facts on advantages gained from the consumption of their product.

For example a coca cola brand may be said to reduce hangover after a drinking spree and this would really increase the consumption level of the product, this message should be used to market the product and the facts being provided about the product should be those aimed at solving problems faced by the masses.

Market segmentation has not been of much emphasis in the company, the company should subdivide its market and provide products that meet special needs of its products, this is already evident in the fast food market whereby purchases can be made online and delivery is made within a few hours, for this reason therefore the company should try to make products that are to be consumed by specific groups and also that the price level should differ depending on the market segment.

Coca Cola Marketing

Advertising should also be accompanied by promotional activities that are offered by the company, in most cases advertisement only inform the consumers but promotions such as periodical price cuts of the product are not included in this adverts, example buy one coke and get one free are not evident in the companies strategy, this would be a means in which to share with the customer the profits made by the company. This is possible because in most cases the advertising costs are even higher than the production costs, most of the funds are used up in advertising.

Other forms of advertising should include extensive internet advertising, due to the changes in technology many companies have decided to advertise online but coca cola tends to lag behind in this strategy, there should also be the extent to which one can purchase and order products online and delivery made at home like in the fast food industry, for this reason therefore there is need to change the mode of advertising and adopt with the current change in the world today.

Having considered the above discussed likely solutions to improve the current advertisement strategy there is need for the company to involve the card slacking technique in their advertisement, this should involve providing facts to the consumer regarding the advantages gained from drinking the products, this benefits should not only be monetary gains through discounts but also gains in terms of health and also to solve certain problems, when consumers are provided with this information then the ales levels will definitely rise and this will create a niche market.


Coca Cola Marketing

Andrew Wernick (1991) Promotional Culture: Advertising, Ideology and Symbolic Expression, McGraw Hill publishers, New York

Carroll Glynn (2004) Public Opinion, McGraw Hill publishers, New York

Coca Cola (2008) the history of Coca Cola, retrieved on 25th March, available at

Otto Kleppner (1990) Advertising Procedure, Prentice Hall publishers, New York

Pepsi (2008) the history of Pepsi, retrieved on 25th March, available at pepsi11.htm