The government charged the Coca-Cola Company with marketing and selling a beverage that was injurious to health. They charged the company with producing a beverage that produced serious mental and motor deficits due to the use of synthetic caffeine. They also claimed that Coca-Cola was misbranded because its name implied that the product contained coca, yet it did not contain the whole coca leaf (because the cocaine was removed) and the name constituted a false and misleading design.
The government hoped to prove that Coca-Cola caused cognitive, sensory and motor deficits and that Coca-Cola was adulterated because it’s caffeine content was an added ingredient and injurious to health. (Pendergrast, 1993) The purpose of the research in the government case against Coca-Cola was to determine the effects of caffeine on cognitive, sensory and motor abilities-(e. g. -hand steadiness, reaction time, mental calculations, color discrimination, and speed in a cancellation task). (Hutt, 2001) The control group in the study received placebo capsules, not actual caffeine.
The experimental group in the study received the caffeine capsules and later, actual doses of the Coca-Cola syrup. The purpose of the double-blind study during the first week, which involved no caffeine consumption, was to acquire base-line data on the subjects and the dependant measures. During the following weeks, caffeine was given by capsule, then with Coca-Cola syrup, some with caffeine and some without. The results of the study found that Coca-Cola acted as a mild stimulant for both motor and cognitive performance, with no evidence of the deleterious effects on mental and motor performance that the government claimed. Ludy T. Benjamin Jr. , 2009)
The research was difficult to conduct because the government only had facts on animal research and knew that it need research that spoke to the effects on humans, and many of the experts they interviewed to do the research declined. Alas, they found Harry and Leta Hollinsworth. Harry Hollinsworth was an instructor at Barnard College and accepted the research project.
The research was itself was difficult only due to the time constraints. The results were need in a matter of weeks, giving Mr. Hollinsworth little time to get a control group and experimental group convened, initiate the study, and document the findings. The relationship between Coca-Cola and the citizens of South Africa is a powerful, long-term commitment. Coca-Cola has invested and spread its business network into all segments of the South African market. Coca-Cola and its affiliate brands are present in shopping centers, retail outlets, and small shops in rural villages, including front porches of run down, dilapidated villages.
Coca-Cola provides signs and coolers for businesses, as well as employment and income for South African citizens and tax revenue for local and central government. Coca-Cola also sponsored the FIFA world cup in South Africa in 2010. South Africa is the largest Coca-Cola market in Africa and ranks among the best performing countries in the world of Coca-Cola. (Division of Research: Moore School of Business, 2005) Coca-Cola advertising has changed tremendously over the last 100 years. Coca-Colas advertising started with fliers and signs.
In the early 1930’s, Coca-Cola started a holiday advertising campaign that included Santa Claus. It is still used today. In the 1950’s, Coca-Cola attempted “subliminal” advertising and television advertising. In the 1970’s, it came up with a radio jingle that quickly fizzled until it was paired with a visual commercial, which quickly became popular and was then requested on the radio shows. Whereever you go, you are sure to see a Coca-Cola billboard or sign. They are everywhere and incorporated in virtually every retail store there is.
You can even collect Coca-Cola merchandise. Everything from clocks, to trucks, to plates can be found with the famous red and white Coca-Cola logo. Coca-Cola pioneered the art of brand recognition with an endless variety of promotional materials, all bearing the classical logo and red and white color scheme. Coca-Cola also changed the shape of their bottle in the early 1900’s to the “May West” or “Hobble-skirt” bottle which consumers instantly associated with the Coca-Cola brand. The bottle shape has remained a Coca-Cola marketing tool for over 100 years. (CNBC, 2009)
The controversy over selling Coca-Cola via the fountain or in the bottle was something that haunted the company for many years. Asa Candler, who was the head of Coca-Cola when bottling came about, was weary of anyone trying to bottle the beverage, as it seemed impossible to bottle it and still have the same taste. When Benjamin Franklin Thomas and Joseph Brown Whitehead, both lawyers, approached Candler in 1887 with the concept of bottling the famous beverage, Candler adamantly refused until the pair proved through taste tests that the quality would not be compromised.
When the contract was prepared, it became infamous for being “The World’s Stupidest, Smartest Contract” ever. This contract would haunt Coca-Cola for over a hundred years. This is the moment when Coca-Cola virtually gave away the bottling rights to the world’s most famous beverage. For as long as Thomas and Whitehead fulfilled their end of the deal, it was a permanent contract and they could pass it on to the bottling companies they created, as the contract had no end date. In addition, the agreement did not include provisions for modifying the price of syrup, should the cost of ingredients increase.
The two lawyers in the contract would haunt the Coca-Cola Company for the next century, resulting in numerous lawsuits. (Pendergrast, 1993) Coca-Cola is using high tech to determine what consumers want to drink with the “Freestyle Jet Machine”. The machine has “PurePour” technology, which was originally developed to measure extremely precise amounts of dialysis and cancer drugs. The machine has a touch-screen interface, which allows consumers to choose what Coca-Cola product and what flavor they want, creating up to 104 possible mixes.
Existing fountain machines use five-gallon concentrate bags and a lot of space in retail backrooms. The “Freestyle Jet Machine” uses highly concentrated 46-ounce cartridges, similar to those of an inkjet printer. The machine sends information back to Coca-Colas headquarters about beverage consumption, peak times, and popular locations. This is helping Coca-Cola develop new beverage that, without a labor-intensive survey and research, would not be possible. (CNBC, 2009) My perception when I see a Coca-Cola advertisement is that it is a waste of money.
We, as a society, are bombarded, day in and day out, with endless advertisements through the mail, on television, on the radio, and over the internet. It is my opinion that The Coca-Cola Company has been around long enough to be as effective with less wasteful advertising. Considering that Coca-Cola dominates the aisles and end-caps of the grocery stores and they are carried in massive worldwide chains, such as McDonalds, I feel that they waste too much money on advertisement and that the money would serve a better purpose elsewhere.
Neither my family, nor myself, drink Coca-Cola. We do not like the taste and flavor of Coke. My opinion on the article was that it was interesting and informative; however, I would have like more in-depth information as to how the studies were performed and more elaboration on the results. I enjoyed the CNBC special as it provided a lot of insight into the “World of Coca-Cola”, from marketing to the new technological advances in the soda world. It was interesting to see how Coca-Cola has virtually conquered the world with their advertising and their products.