Tuesday, June 18, 2013

“Life Begins Here"

Are North Korea and Cuba the only countries in the world which have experienced no penetration by Coke and heard no slogans like 2011’s “Life begins here?" Surely, there are still a few other select enclaves. The plot of The Gods Must Be Crazy hinges on the conceit of a Coke bottle falling from an airplane and fracturing the insular world of a tribe in Botswana. Since 1980 when the film was made, the world has changed even more. So while there still might not be franchises in certain select places, it’s more likely the Coke bottle would be recognizable even the most isolated and undeveloped parts of the planet. The Russians lost the cold war and America can no longer be called imperial, but when you think of it, the Coca Cola company has really done what no other super power, including the Romans or the Turks ever succeeded in doing, which is to conquer the world. Caesar and Suleiman the Magnificent notwithstanding, one would be hard put to doubt the hegemony of Coke on the world stage. We talk of the l000 years of Rome, but will Coke ever die? Coke and especially Diet Coke have their enemies, but they tend to be pacific types who are more interested in turning swords into ploughshares. Yes, there is Pepsi, but that’s one competitor who only stokes the fires of the leader. If Coke ever runs into trouble, Pepsi emptor! Jared Diamond has made an industry out of the study of the Collapse of civilizations, but he should consider a study of the greatest success story of all time, a product which is so ubiquitous that it’s name is synonymous with civilization.

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