fizzy warbles: an arm’s reach of desire

The marketing double-cross.New coke, old tactics. Obesity and the bottom line. The belching monster. The twisted veracity of the plausible. The taste test of corporate integrity. Cuddly polar bears- just by coincidence they are white, predatory and live in the north. The pure north- and a raft of challenged corporate practices, particularly in India with water usage, but in South America as well.H.L. Mencken: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” and to add to that Robert Woodruff, CEO of Coca-Cola, had this expression summing up his ambition for the product in 1923: “I want Coke to be within an arm’s length of desire.” A corporate North Woods?  A little bait and switch?…

Read More: book quotes Henry Miller, too. In The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, Miller wrote that “without a Coca-Cola life is unbearable.” Yet that’s part of a longer passage, a list that indicts the nightmarish America Miller found when he returned after years abroad. Here are a few other things he lists with Coca-Cola: “internal douche treatments, lousy photography, institutes of religion, faces lifted, warts removed, flatulence dissipated, business improved, limousines rented.” You should know better than to use something from a book called The Air-Conditioned Nightmare to bolster your brand. Clearly, Assouline and Coke don’t expect anybody to read that book. I’m positive they found that quote by searching Google for Coke quotes. Many interesting things have been said about Coke that the book leaves out, though perhaps not as willfully. Where’s the quote from Slavoj Žižek explaining the undefined “it” that Coke says it is?

…Coke represents the eternally unsatisfied emptiness we seek to fill with something ungraspable, something Coke made eminently graspable in the form of its perfectly curved bottle, which was designed so you could recognize it in the dark by touch. The “contour bottle” debuted in 1916, the same year Einstein proved via the general theory of relativity that space was curved. A significant coincidence, I think. Other famous commenters on Coke who are MIA include Billy Wilder, who made a whole Mad Men–era movie about selling Coke behind the Iron Curtain, and Jean-Luc Godard, who mentioned or showed Coke in almost every movie he made in the 1960s. If Coke can claim Warhol and Miller for their own, surely they will absorb others ( A.S. Hamrah)….Read More:

Bob Rosenberg:The New Coke campaign of the early 80’s was considered one of the biggest marketing failures ever. Well, it’s not. It is in fact one of the most brilliant and immoral marketing strategies in history. This is all true, just look on any can of Coke. In the 1980’s when Bill Cosby declared that Coke would change its formula, it was a huge scam to save Coke money. You see, the Coca-Cola corporation never dreamed that people would like New Coke. What they wanted was to release a substitute Coke product with a noticeably different taste. They would keep this on the market until all of the old Coke was sold and people couldn’t get it anymore. Eventually, Coke co. claimed (quite rightly) that people missed old Coke and demanded its return. As a consequence, Coke vowed to rerelease the original Coke as Coke Classic. They never did. What they did do was bring back the original recipe, but with (significantly cheaper) corn syrup instead of sugar….

Read More: ---As a television series Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future was one of my favorite shows from the 80s. Of course the character of Max pre-dates that series — he got his start with a talk show in England in 1985 which in many ways inspired Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. When Coke launched their new formula they made the bold move of picking Max as their spokesperson using the tagline “Catch the Wave!” ...---In trying to sustain their decision to create and sell New Coke, Coca-Cola sought to position the soda for a young market - precisely the market in which they had long been losing ground to Pepsi. They looked for a spokesperson that would appear to this young audience, and came up with... Max. (As a further example of Coke's continuing schizophrenia over their products, Classic Coke had its own ad campaign, "Red, White and You" that competed in many ways for the same audience.)---

…Everyone would have noticed if they had just made the switch directly. Coke would have been forced to return to the original, more expensive, product. But since Classic Coke tasted passably similar to old Coke, people just assumed it was the same, since no one had had any in so long. So now you can only get original Coke in the US on Passover (look for Kosher for Passover Coke from about mid March, it will either say KP, or just look for Hebrew letters). Since corn is not kosher for Passover, they release the true original formula with sugar. In Europe, Coke is still made with real sugar.

Read More: there’s this scene where Leonard, talking dramatically to his daughter, gestures wildly with a Coke bottle in his hand. Then the camera shows both of them on the couch, and Cosby drapes his arm over the couch and puts the Coke bottle right square in the middle of the frame, with the label facing us, and continues to talk, even though it looks like the most awkward possible way to conduct a serious father-daughter conversation. Why did they do that? Well…um…did it make you feel like buying a refreshing Coca-Cola product?---

ADDENDUM: New Coke was announced, with great fanfare, on 23 April 1985. The outcry against it was both immediate and enormous. Less than three months later, on 11 July 1985, Coke announced that the old version, now dubbed “Coke Classic,” was returning to the shelves…. The return of Coke was famously given headline billing across the media. ABC had Peter Jennings cut into “General Hospital” to announce the news as a breaking story. The story headlined two networks that evening and was the second story on the third – and on a very “hot” news day on which many major events of real newsworthiness occurred….

Read More: ---However, Kent has been taken to task by several reporters in Mexico because there is an outstanding lawsuit by a former 16-year employee and top marketing executive of The Coca-Cola Co. The plaintiff, Angel Alvarado Agüero, alleges that the company pressured him to act illegally to destroy all competition at the 700,000 mom and pop stores in Mexico. When he refused, he was forcibly and unjustifiably dismissed and denied substantial compensation owed to him. In the past, Coke had been fined millions of dollars for engaging in similar monopolistic activity in Mexico. But even worse, this case highlights how The Coca-Cola Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, The Coca-Cola Export Corp., conspired to illegally cheat Mexican workers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in pay and profit sharing and the Mexican government out of millions in tax revenues. In addition, Kent stated that all court cases have been dismissed, yet there is an outstanding case that was filed in the State Supreme Court of New York on February 25, 2010, accusing Coke and its operations in Guatemala of murder, rape and attempted murder directed at union leaders and family members. And, of course, human rights abuses continue to pile up in places like Colombia and China.---

…It was claimed then and now that the entire “New Coke” fiasco was a cleverly planned media stunt with two purposes: first, to get loads of free advertising and attention, and second, to permit Coke to switch from cane sugar to corn syrup in the production without anyone noticing by being able to taste the two versions back to back. Both claims are probably bogus; see Snopes for a full discussion and debunking.] Most people think Coke Classic replaced New Coke, but the new formulation remained in production and on the shelves as plain old Coca-Cola. By 1986, though, (New) Coke had fallen to a 3% market share… and Classic Coke had reached higher sales than (Old) Coke had seen for years! New Coke was finally renamed Coke II in 1990, and continued to be manufactured in Chicago until 2002 (or 2004). It was finally dropped from the US line, but is reportedly still be manufactured and sold in some overseas locations. Read More:

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Ty Cobb who made a King’s ransom investing in Coke is a metaphor for the company’s practices, overall spirit, and money generating capacity….

…Cobb would have been a fascinating economist. He understood economic power and once testified before the U.S. Congress on that topic. He understood clearly the difference between ceremonial and functional behavior. His record and his autobiography indicate a thorough understanding of Veblen’s instinct of workmanship. Cobb was unconventional, analytical, thorough, and impatient with his colleagues. One description of Cobb labeled him “a creature without normal motivation, a ballplayer … who goes about his business oblivious to the laws and customs of the society in which he lives” . Compare this description with Robert Heilbroner’s assessment of Veblen as one who “walked through life as if he had descended from another world” ….

Image: Read More: North:n a section Fridson entitles "The Real Thing" Fridson writes "...Cobb was photographed on the bench with a carton of soda pop conspicuously displayed at his side. The soft drink was a brand produced in his native state of Georgia, originally marketed as "French Wine Cola Nerve and Tonic Stimulant." Apparently, this French Wine Cola Nerve and Tonic Stimulant was later re-named Coca-Cola. Referring to Ty Cobb, Fridson on the same page 20 writes, " The Georgia Peach purchased 300 shares for a total of $10,800. Within eight years his annual income from Coca Cola reached $350,000." "Well before age 40, Cobb was a millionaire, even though his baseball salary never surpassed $85,000 a year." I have heard that the old Coca-Cola contained cocaine. If it did when Ty Cobb was an investor in it, Ty Cobb was almost like a drug dealer. Nowadays, here in 2008, the energy drinks containing taurine and so forth, are probably helping some of the already rich, get richer, in the same way that the so-called strong and decent baseball salaried Ty Cobb got supplemental superiority income off of Coke.

…Cobb was also a bigot. Cobb’s racism was never disguised and sometimes vicious. Veblen’s often misunderstood discussions of dolicho-blonds and racial superiority suggested that racism lacked any scientific basis. “Cobb was particularly brutal to blacks; on at least two occasions he struck black women”  and others reported that Cobb probably belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. Cobb was so aggressive and belligerent (he was often accused of sharpening his spikes with a file before games to intimidate opposing players) that many questioned his sanity. By the time of his death he had few friends, and only three major leaguers attended his funeral. Veblen taught us about invidious distinctions, leisure class canons of waste, pecuniary pursuits, and predatory habits of thought based on what he called the emulative predatory propensity. Cobb personified these phenomena. Read More:

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