The Coca-Cola Company, in its global marketing efforts, has the delicate task of creating demand for its products by giving them “local appeal,” all the while being unable to deny the fact that the company and its flagship product are considered to be a distinctly American icons. In some markets, being an American brand is an advantage. However, in certain parts of the world, and especially in the Middle East, being “American” can be a real disadvantage.
Fox News reported this afternoon that The Coca-Cola Company will offer its flagship brand with graphics celebrating Ramadan, one of the most important holidays in the Islamic faith. Cans in support of this distinctly religious holiday will bear the crescent moon and star associated with Islam. The product will, understandably, be offered only in the middle east. I would have to say that this is a pretty smart strategy, assuming that consumers in those select markets are impressed by the company’s acknowledgement and commemoration of the holiday.
What remains to be seen, now that The Coca-Cola Company has made an intentional and overt recognition of a religious holiday by using religious symbols associated with it, is the degree and extent to which they equally commemorate holidays of two other major world religions, Judaism, and Christianity.
As for Christmas, I am sure that Coke would argue that the use of the Hadden Sandblom Santas, appropriately recognizes Christmas. And they would be wrong, as that symbol is representative of the secular aspects of that holiday. But I think we should give Coke a bye on Christmas. But we do so with the expectation that the cross of Christ will appear on packaging next spring,…just in time for Easter.