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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: coca-cola, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. The soda industry exposed [Infographic]

Although soda companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are recognized around the world - the history, politics, and nutrition of these corporations are not as known. In her latest book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), Marion Nestle exposes the truth behind this multi-billion dollar industry. Check out these hard hitting facts and see how much you actually know about the soda industry.

The post The soda industry exposed [Infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. What Coke’s cocaine problem can tell us about Coca-Cola Capitalism

By Bart Elmore

In the 1960s, Coca-Cola had a cocaine problem. This might seem odd, since the company removed cocaine from its formula around 1903, bowing to Jim Crow fears that the drug was contributing to black crime in the South. But even though Coke went cocaine-free in the Progressive Era, it continued to purchase coca leaves from Peru, removing the cocaine from the leaves but keeping what was left over as a flavoring extract. By the end of the twentieth century it was the single largest purchaser of legally imported coca leaves in the United States.

Yet, in the 1960s, Coke feared that an international counternarcotics crackdown on cocaine would jeopardize their secret trade with Peruvian cocaleros, so they did a smart thing: they began growing coca in the United States. With the help of the US government, a New Jersey chemical firm, and the University of Hawaii, Coca-Cola launched a covert coca operation on the island of Kauai. In 1965, growers in the Pacific paradise reported over 100 shrubs in cultivation.

How did this bizarre Hawaiian coca operation come to be? How, in short, did Coca-Cola become the only legal buyer of coca produced on US soil? The answer, I discovered, had to do with the company’s secret formula: not it’s unique recipe, but its peculiar business strategy for making money—what I call Coca-Cola capitalism.

What made Coke one of the most profitable firms of the twentieth century was its deftness in forming partnerships with private and public sector partners that helped the company acquire raw materials it needed at low cost. Coca-Cola was never really in the business of making stuff; it simply positioned itself as a kind of commodity broker, channeling ecological capital between producers and distributors, generating profits off the transaction. It thrived by making friends, both in government and in the private sector, friends that built the physical infrastructure and technological systems that produced and transported the cheap commodities needed for mass-marketing growth.

In the case of coca leaf, Coca-Cola had the Stepan chemical company of Maywood, New Jersey, which was responsible for handling Coke’s coca trade and “decocainizing” leaves used for flavoring extract (the leftover cocaine was ultimately sold to pharmaceutical firms for medicinal purposes). What Coke liked about its relationship with Stepan was that it kept the soft drink firm out of the limelight, obfuscating its connection to a pesky and tabooed narcotics trade.

But Stepan was just part of the procurement puzzle. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) also played a pivotal role in this trade. Besides helping to pilot a Hawaiian coca farm, the US counternarcotics agency negotiated deals with the Peruvian government to ensure that Coke maintained access to coca supplies. The FBN and its successor agencies did this even while initiating coca eradication programs, tearing up shrubs in certain parts of the Andes in an attempt to cut off cocaine supply channels. By the 1960s, coca was becoming an enemy of the state, but only if it was not destined for Coke.

In short, Coca-Cola—a company many today consider a paragon of free-market capitalism—relied on the federal government to get what it wanted.

An old Coca-Cola bottling plant showing some of the municipal pipes that these bottlers tapped into. Courtesy of Bart Elmore.

An old Coca-Cola bottling plant showing some of the municipal pipes that these bottlers tapped into. Courtesy of Bart Elmore.

Coke’s public partnerships extended to other ingredients. Take water, for example. For decades, the Coca-Cola Company relied on hundreds of independently owned bottlers (over 1,000 in 1920 alone) to market its products to consumers. Most of these bottlers simply tapped into the tap to satiate Coke’s corporate thirst, connecting company piping to established public water systems that were in large part built and maintained by municipal governments.

The story was much the same for packaging materials. Beginning in the 1980s, Coca-Cola benefited substantially from the development of curbside recycling systems paid for by taxpayers. Corporations welcomed the government handout, because it allowed them to expand their packaging production without taking on more costs. For years, environmental activists had called on beverage companies to clean up their waste. In fact, in 1970, 22 US congressmen supported a bill that would have banned the sale of nonreturnable beverage containers in the United States. But Congress, urged on by corporate lobbyists, abandoned the plan in favor of recycling programs paid for by the public. In the end, Coke and its industry partners were direct beneficiaries of the intervention, utilizing scrap metal and recycled plastic that was conveniently brought to them courtesy of municipal reclamation programs.

In all these interwoven ingredient stories there was one common thread: Coke’s commitment to outsourcing and franchising. The company consistently sought a lean corporate structure, eschewing vertical integration whenever possible. All it did was sell a concentrated syrup of repackaged cheap commodities. It did not own sugar plantations in Cuba (as the Hershey Chocolate Company did), coca farms in Peru, or caffeine processing plants in New Jersey, and by not owning these assets, the company remained nimble throughout its corporate life. It found creative ways to tap into pipes, plantations, and plants managed by governments and other businesses.

In the end, Coca-Cola realized that it could do more by doing less, extending its corporate reach, both on the frontend and backend of its business, by letting other firms and independent bottlers take on the risky and sometimes unprofitable tasks of producing cheap commodities and transporting them to consumers.

This strategy for doing business I have called Coca-Cola capitalism, so-named because Coke modeled it particularly well, but there were many other businesses, in fact some of the most profitable of our time, that followed similar paths to big profits. Software firms, for example, which sell a kind of information concentrate, have made big bucks by outsourcing raw material procurement responsibilities. Fast food chains, internet businesses, and securities firms—titans of twenty-first century business—have all demonstrated similar proclivities towards the Coke model of doing business.

Thus, as we look to the future, we would do well to examine why Coca-Cola capitalism has become so popular in the past several decades. Scholars have begun to debate the causes of a recent trend toward vertical disintegration, and while there are undoubtedly many causes for this shift, it seems ecological realities need to be further investigated. After all, one of the reasons Coke chose not to own commodity production businesses was because they were both economically and ecologically unsustainable over the long term. Might other firms divestment from productive industries tied to the land be symptomatic of larger environmental problems associated with extending already stressed commodity networks? This is a question we must answer as we consider the prudence of expanding our current brand of corporate capitalism in the years ahead.

Bart Elmore is an assistant professor of global environmental history at the University of Alabama. He is the author of “Citizen Coke: An Environmental and Political History of the Coca-Cola Company” (available to read for free for a limited time) in Enterprise and Society. His forthcoming book, Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism, is due out with W. W. Norton in November of 2014.

Enterprise & Society offers a forum for research on the historical relations between businesses and their larger political, cultural, institutional, social, and economic contexts. The journal aims to be truly international in scope. Studies focused on individual firms and industries and grounded in a broad historical framework are welcome, as are innovative applications of economic or management theories to business and its context.

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The post What Coke’s cocaine problem can tell us about Coca-Cola Capitalism appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Ypulse Essentials: Warren Buffett’s Animated Finance Show, Decline In Music Piracy, Coca-Cola ‘Moves To The Beat’

What does financial guru Warren Buffet have to do with Millennials? (A lot since he’ll appear on The Hub in a four part TV segment next month called “Secret Millionaire’s Club” where he — in animated form — will give teens financial... Read the rest of this post

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4. What makes an image an icon?

Image, branding, and logos are obsessions of our age. Iconic images dominate the media. In his new book, Christ to Coke, art historian Professor Martin Kemp examines eleven mega-famous examples of icons, including the American flag, the image of Christ's face, the double helix of DNA, and the heart.

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5. Ypulse Essentials: Twitter + TV Is The New Way To Watch, ABC Spark, Teens Are Abandoning Movie Theaters

‘X Factor’ viewers will be able to use Twitter to do more than complain (starting next week. They’ll finally be able to vote for contestants via the site. For Millennials, social media and TV go hand in hand, so encouraging viewers... Read the rest of this post

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6. Ypulse Essentials: Will Millennials Get Socl?, The State Of Piracy, Millennial Entitlement

In case you need yet another social network to keep up with (Microsoft has just launched Socl. We think this one’s gonna go a lot like Google+, though with fewer people signing up for accounts because it’s the cool thing to do. Can you... Read the rest of this post

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7. Ypulse Essentials: Small Businesses Go Social, Teen Web Series Takes Off, Disney Buys Trending Topic

Why small businesses should think like a teen (A great piece about how 5 teen social media trends can put a new brand–from a vintage fashion line to a local lobster eatery–on the map) (Mashable) - Future of media is in the hands of teens... Read the rest of this post

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8. Linked Up: Gary Vaynerchuk, Stonehenge, Sad Keith Gessen

Looking at what I’m choosing to share this week, one might call this the brand-placement edition of Linked Up. But it’s actually the accidental-brand-placement edition. Lucky them. (P.S. I think Lucky Brand Jeans is having a sale.)

Gary Vaynerchuk on wine: “It’s like smelling Batman.”

Facebook, not that popular after all.

Does Coca-Cola own happiness? They do in this case. (Yes, I know this happened months ago, but it is sooo worth re-watching.)

There’s a second (???!!!???What!?!?!?!?) Stonehenge.

A group of researchers mapped our emotions via Twitter, and it looks like blow-paint art.

PBR, not so low-brow in China.

The Old Spice spoof that almost makes me want to go back to school…

Woman’s Day encourages you to get your “literary buzz” on.

Finally. Jelloware.

McNally Jackson is so over Sad Keanu. Now is the time for Sad Keith Gessen.

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9. Our Side Of The Screen: The Ypulse Pepsi Refresh Project [Six Months Later]

Ed. Note: It's one of the oldest battles in modern advertising, and it doesn't seem to be slowing anytime soon: the great Coke vs. Pepsi debate still counts legions of supporters on both sides of the cola divide. But where Coca-Cola has built a... Read the rest of this post

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10. Ypulse Youth Media Movers & Shakers

Today we bring you another installment of Youth Media Movers and Shakers. We've culled through industry publications looking for the recent executive placements we think you should know about. If you have executive news that you want us to highlight... Read the rest of this post

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11. Santa’s eyebrows!

My friend Jerry Russell (whose fantastic work you can see here) observed that in The Year Without a Santa Claus I “made Santa’s eyebrows black, instead. For more expressive impact, I’m guessing.”

It’s true that the darker eyebrows make Santa’s face livelier.  I’ve always loved the interpretation of Santa in old Coca-Cola ads by Haddon Sundblom.  Click on his name to read about his work.  His Santa has those dark eyebrows, in pleasant contrast with the white beard.  Sundblom turned out paintings of Santa from the 30s through the 60s—so I got to see his new work when I was a kid.  You don’t hear his name much, but Sundblom’s work represents the best of the golden age of illustration.

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12. Ypulse Essentials: Bristol Palin Publishes Her…Memoirs, Social Net Profiles Will Replace Resumes, OneMinuteNews Debuts

Maroon 5 is teaming with Coca-Cola (to crowdsource the band’s next song. In the 24 hours of March 22, the band will gather lyrics, riffs, and rhythms and whip them into a new track during a live session streamed online. The band’s... Read the rest of this post

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13. Ypulse Essentials: XBox In-Game Ads, Disney Channels’ ‘PrankStars,’ 10 Million+ Foursquare Users

Xbox users can stay involved (even during ads, thanks to in-game ads which use the same voice and motion technology as the Kinect console. Gamers can say a command to tweet or text, or wave their hands in front of the device to vote. Users can... Read the rest of this post

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14. Ypulse Essentials: 3D Kid’s TV, ‘Hunger Games’ Trailer After VMAs, Facebook Privacy Changes

With parents allowing looser rules over children’s media consumption in summer months (it’s no wonder kids dread fall and back-to-school time. During the summer, 49% of children watch more TV, 46% play more video games, 45% surf the Web... Read the rest of this post

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15. How do you create when you read statistics?

I am reading EA's wonderful blog and the thread on "How to Screw Things Up."

And it is so depressing.

Maybe we illustrators would be the most productive and creative and inspired if we temporarily forget how to read.

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16. How Coke Won The Cola War

For all those rubbed the wrong way by Pepsi's lookalike logo and soundalike slogans, last week's reveal that the president and his staff actually prefer Coke must have come as something of a sweet vindication. Without the credibility of an actual... Read the rest of this post

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17. Ypulse Essentials: Coke Debuts Single, French Teens Discover Bronte, Clean & Clear's Teen Soap Series

Putting the pop back in soda (Coke releases a single for its "Open Happiness" campaign featuring members of Gnarls Barkley, Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco. Plus, The New York Times asks what "The O.C." treatment will do for indie bands featured... Read the rest of this post

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18. Ypulse Essentials: Where's Waldo, Cell Phone Fiction, EU Teams With MTV On Climate Change

Aczone the Musical (if HSM was a commercial for Allergan's Aczone Prescription Acne Medication) - Too much TV as teens (can lead to poor eating habits as young adults, according to a study that tracked high schoolers) (Vancouver Sun) - Ubisoft... Read the rest of this post

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19. Ypulse Essentials: MySpace Music Videos, 'Children's Hospital' On Adult Swim, Horror Marketing 2.0

MySpace Music Videos (launches as the latest effort to get the soc net's groove back. Mashable describes the service as a Hulu that doesn't expire, while Social Times calls out MTV online for a missed opportunity. Plus ReadWriteWeb asks the... Read the rest of this post

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20. Where Do Youth Fit In @ The Winter Olympics?

Today's Ypulse Youth Advisory Board post comes from Libby Issendorf who reports back from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver where her company sent her as part of the social media team for U.S. Speedskating (lucky!). Below Libby gives us the lowdown... Read the rest of this post

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