15 February 2016
The Brand Camel // In the Studio
When Jamie Oliver’s documentary ‘Sugar Rush’ aired late last summer, with shocking footage of Coca-Cola being given to a still breast-feeding baby in Mexico, we decided to never drink another Coke again. Coke was being forced on the people of Mexico due to their lack of access to fresh drinking water, which itself was as a direct result of Coke’s use of water in the making of their product.
For all of those people in the UK that watched the documentary, and saw people who had easier access to bottles of Coke than they did to clean drinking water, how many have stopped drinking it? Why haven't Coca-Cola seemed to suffer a blow as a result of this exposure? Maybe people feel like they are unable to make any kind of an impact on what Coca-Cola does? Is it possible for a brand to become so big that it's popularity is resistant to the actions that it takes?
Coca-Cola could have offered those in Mexico fresh drinking water, all bottled in their branded bottles, alongside their normal Coke drink. They would have acknowledged their moral responsibility, it wouldn’t have cost them financially, and it would have made a great piece of PR (far better than sponsoring a positive event just to bring your brand up in association).
But they didn’t do that. Why? Because greed is a greater force than generosity. Especially in large corporations.
But when you get down to the smaller, more human companies, generosity rewards far more greatly than greed.
Good deeds are shared on social media, your business is cast in a favourable light and noticed by potential customers. People within smaller businesses are able to feel more a part of the good that they have done, and therefore bask in some of it’s shared glory. Perhaps, when a company becomes a global brand like Coca-Cola, any good the company does feels so diluted to employees that it barely registers, and so greed becomes the greater motivating force than generosity.
This greed has increasingly lead to a negative perception of the brand, and with each straw being added, who knows when this ‘brand camel’ might finally break?