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Coke: Behind the Image

Powerful Essays
Coke: Behind the Image

Almost everywhere I go, I see advertisements for “The Real Thing.” Even during my trip to Mozambique, a country stricken with poverty where the people rarely speak English, native children knew how to ask for their favorite drink, available just down the road at the street vendor‘s hut. Created in 1885 by pharmacist John Pemberton, Coca-Cola has evolved from a tonic peddled by traveling salesmen to cure headaches and hangovers, to one of the most recognized and most widely enjoyed beverages of all time (Oliver 14).

On average, North Americans drink at least one serving of Coke per day (CSPI sc1). With over two million dollars spent every year on advertising and with very competitive prices, Coke is appealing to and affordable for people of all ages and financial situations. Although most people believe that Coke is the ultimate companion to a good time, that Coke promotes freedom and fun, that it tastes good and poses no threat to the health, I now see that with its aggressive advertising and inherent health risks, Coke has a hidden agenda to create young addicts and further people’s illusion of control.

In 1885 Coke was originally trademarked as the “Ideal Nerve and Tonic Stimulant,” containing cocaine, wine and kola nut for flavor, and sold in drugstores (Oliver 13). Later, the wine was removed and the cocaine was replaced with caffeine. The beverage was then bottled and sold “within arm’s reach of desire,” a new concept by Coke businessmen who wanted Coke to be available wherever people were thirsty (Oliver 14). From the early 1900s on, Coke has kept growing, remaining in the top ten lists for both preferred beverages and highest sales (CSPI sc...

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Oliver, Thomas. The Real Coke, the Real Story. New York: Random House, 1986.

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“Save Harry.” Nov. 2001. CSPI. www.saveharry.com/bythenumbers.html 29 Mar. 2002

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