Coca-Cola has used nostalgia as an emotion to create consumer loyalty in several ways, particularly with its use of Santa Claus to evoke memories of Christmas. According to Kessous (2015), companies like Coca-Cola use nostalgic stimulus to transposing the consumer for an event or period from their idealized past, helping the consumer to reconnect with these events. In the case, Coca-Cola is a nostalgic brand because the company advertises their brand from a previous historical period, while also not updating their advertising to present standards of taste, functioning, or performance. Thus, the consumer links Coca-Cola with historical associations like Christmas and Santa Claus, with the image of a man in a red suit and a white beard, which are also the colors of Coca-Cola. Santa Claus’ history in modern times is inextricably linked to Coca-Cola, which Coca-Cola has used to make their brand intertwined with the holiday season (Kessous, 2015).
Beginning with the Christmas holidays of 1920, Coca-Cola has sought to boost awareness and loyalty to its brand by evoking memories of past Christmas holidays. Coca-Cola’s long-standing legacy of Christmas-themed campaigns that bring festive cheer to the holiday season is a good example of nostalgic branding, particularly as their ad campaigns mark the start of the Christmas countdown (Kessous, 2015). Coca-Cola also embraces its nostalgic past through continued production of iconic bottles from the 1950 era, along with its continued use of Santa Claus imagery. The ‘Share it forward’ campaign, for instance, involved celebration of Coca-Cola’s 100th anniversary of using their iconic bottle, during which the company encouraged consumers to buy the bottles for their families and friends as well using nostalgic messaging. In turn, this use of nostalgic messaging motivates millennial consumer to purchase Coca-Cola’s products (Kessous, 2015). By focusing on bringing people together based on their nostalgic emotions for a past event or period, Coca-Cola has therefore enhanced consumer loyalty.
Coca-Cola has had both positive and negative impacts on the people of other countries in which the company operates. Perhaps the most important positive impact is the economic benefits it provides to the local people of these countries, where they source raw materials and ingredients largely from the local regions (Barkay, 2013). Furthermore, the company also employs hundreds of thousands of workers around the world through their bottling partners, while also investing significantly in community and social programs. Coca-Cola also contributes to the economy of local communities by paying suppliers of products, employing local people, and investment in capital equipment. In addition, Coca-Cola pays taxes to local and national governments around the world, thus supporting government social programs as well. Moreover, by helping small vendors and retailers who form the backbone of the company’s business to build and expand their businesses and also become their business partner, Coca-Cola invests in the growth of entrepreneurship around the world (Barkay, 2013).
However, Coca-Cola also has negative impacts on the people of the countries in which they operate. For example, Coca-Cola’s operations in India have been blighted by accusations of destroying the local agriculture and drying up local wells due to their need for massive amounts of water (Karnani, 2014). Indeed, it takes three liters of water to make one liter of Coca-Cola, which has necessitated Coca-Cola’s attempts to secure water resource in foreign countries. According to the Conflict Theory, society is in perpetual conflict as a result of competition for scarce resources, such as water, which results in wealthy corporations using their power to secure these resources while excluding the rest. In this case, Coca-Cola has sought to take control of aquifers in countries where they operate, which has led to conflicts with locals in regions that suffer from poor rainfall and water resource availability. Since both Coca-Cola and local communities are reliant on scarce water resources, the company’s use of their power to maintain control over the water has exacerbated inequality in these communities (Karnani, 2014).
- Barkay, T. (2013). When business and community meet: A case study of Coca-Cola. Critical Sociology, 39(2), 277-293
- Karnani, A. (2014). Corporate social responsibility does not avert the tragedy of the commons. Case study: Coca-Cola India. Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 9(3), 11-23
- Kessous, A. (2015). Nostalgia and brands: a sweet rather than a bitter cultural evocation of the past. Journal of marketing management, 31(17-18), 1899-1923