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Coca-Cola — Conquering the World

Our best quotes on what people think of this global giant.

June 7, 2001

Our best quotes on what people think of this global giant.

Just about anywhere you go — from New York’s Broadway neighborhood to a remote jungle in Vietnam — one can easily stumble across a billboard advertising Coca-Cola’s global brand. What, however, do people worldwide have to say about Coke? Our new Read My Lips feature listens in.

How well does Coca-Cola reflect and adapt to today’s changing global landscape?

“To lead the Coca-Cola company, it’s a lot like being in politics. You have to be well-read, a good communicator, be skilled in diplomacy — and love geopolitics.” (A former senior executive of Coca-Cola, on the financial trouble of Coca-Cola)

Can Coca-Cola “fit in” to any culture?

“Coca-Cola is more alive in India than in the United States. We are picking up elements of U.S. pop culture, which in the United States, are not that highly valued. And we accept it uncritically.”

(Ashis Nandy, Indian intellectual, on India’s new consumer society, September 2000)

Does Coke’s advertisement appeal to all cultures though?

“They look like they’re on drugs constantly. How can they be performing at school?”

(Singaporean high school student, October 2002)

What do people in industrialized countries think about Coca-Cola?

“Coke is associated with purity. You go to a third-world country where you’re not sure of the water — you drink Coca-Cola.”

(Merrill Lynch analyst, after health concerns surfaced in Europe about contaminated Coca-Cola products, June 1999)

In what sense does the global economy have direct impact on Coca-Cola as a company?

“That’s what globalization means: companies — like currencies — are vulnerable to instantaneous flows of rumor.”

(Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, comparing Europe’s health scare over Coke in June 1999 to the global financial crisis of 1997-98)

What does Coke have to say to anti-globalization protests and Coca Cola boycotts?

“Boycotts hurt the local economy, the local bottlers — the local employees.”

(Kelly Brooks, spokesman for Coca-Cola, April 2003)

What is Coke’s business secret?

“Coke develops the products, dreams up the advertising, sells the syrup and causes its reported earnings never to disappoint anybody — except the short sellers.”

(Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, May 1997)

With so much success, how do you stay ahead of the game?

“What do you do when your competitor is drowning? Get a live hose — and stick it in his mouth.”

(M. Douglas Ivester, then-President and Chief Operating Officer of Coca-Cola Co., May 1997)

Is Coca-Cola the United States’ most popular export product?

“More than Coca-Cola, the dollar is surely the United States’ signature export.”

(Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley, March 2000)

Do others measure themselves as a reflection of the “real thing”?

“The New York Stock Exchange is the Coca-Cola of stock exchanges.”

(Head of a Wall Street investment bank, on the NYSE powerful position among the world’s stock exchanges, March 2001)

What is Coke’s influence on the local level?

“In Atlanta, Coca-Cola is church and state rolled into one.”

(Economist, February 2000)