Coca-Cola – the brand that saved the world.

Actions speak far louder than words for brands. Coca-Cola should take this golden opportunity to build their brand.

“For the entire Earth (target audience), Coca-Cola (brand name) is the drinks brand (frame of reference) that saves our planet’s environment ensuring clean air for generations to come and protecting habitats for millions of species (benefit/point of difference) because only Coca-Cola (brand name) spends its $3bn global advertising budget on helping land trusts protect the world’s rainforests (reason to believe).”

A ballsy brand positioning indeed but what a mission to be on! And how forward thinking!

1. This is NOT Coke’s positioning.

It’s extrapolated from Good Things ‘Buy the World a Hope’ movement which campaigns Coca-Cola to stop advertising for one year and spend the annual $3bn budget on protecting the world’s rainforests.

See the video here

It sets the bar far higher than most, elevating the brand beyond ‘happiness’ to something evangelical, it gives the organisation a far greater sense of purpose than just selling loads of product, and crucially provides a universally appealing mantra to the world’s consumers.

In my opinion this is a stroke of genius and if I was Coke’s CEO, I wouldn’t wait for the petition results to land on my desk, I’d be getting on with it right away.

We know that consumers look to brands to help them make a positive change to the world. Planet-sized issues are far too big for individuals to manage after all.

Many brands have positive or philanthropic values in their DNA and continue to go from strength to strength.

Toms works on a one-for-one basis – for every pair of shoes you buy, they provide a pair for a child in need in a third world country.

Prêt a manger give any unsold food to local homeless people at the end of each day.

And at the time of writing Velvet toilet tissue had planted 6,985,009 trees. For every tree they use, they replant three more.

Coke would not become invisible overnight. It’s in every bar, pub, restaurant, leisure centre, supermarket and corner shop in most of the world. Its trucks are on most roads and it’s one of the world’s most well-known brands. People ask for it with or without advertising.

An action like this does not go un-noticed by the media. The ‘free’ PR and global coverage would far outweigh the outlay in terms of media. In a similar way the value of the media coverage Red Bull got from Formula 1’s global TV audiences far outweighs the cost of running the team.

It is also a huge philanthropic gesture that would go a very long way to swaying critics of this global behemoth.

As they say, actions speak far louder than words and as an action, this is like shouting from the highest rooftop.

In short, I believe that in a world where brands need to find new ways to make noise, cut through and differentiate from the competition, this is a no-brainer. It is a win-win in so many ways. The brand wins, the earth wins, and the consumer wins. The only people that don’t win are the incumbent advertising and media agencies whose figures will have a Coke-sized hole in them for a year!

You can sign the petition here, it takes a matter of moments –


Will Rees-Hooper