If you’re looking for a beverage that’ll fatten you up and rot your teeth, and whose sanctimonious CEO will insult your intelligence, it’s hard to beat The Real Thing.
Long one of the world’s most powerful brands, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has done plenty of damage to that brand of late. Coke, in recent years, has gone woke, and the folks seem to be fed up. Recent polling shows the majority of Americans want corporations to stay out of politics. A recent Rasmussen Reports survey, for example, found that while only 25% say Coca-Cola’s stand against Georgia’s new voting reform law makes them more likely to buy Coke, some 37% of American adults say they’re less likely to purchase its products.
Do you support or oppose American companies using their public role, position, or events to influence political, cultural, or social change?
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) April 15, 2021
Now Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy organization, is pushing back against woke corporations like Nike, Coca-Cola and American Airlines with a million dollar attack ad campaign. They’re also launching a new initiative to hold companies accountable to their customers.
Tom Aquinas sees the same trend:
Coke is “more concerned with its distorted notion of social justice and less concerned about why so few are drinking its product. Maybe it’s trying to deflect criticism for being such a badly run company. But with each generation, its fate becomes more clearly sealed. This company is a dead company walking. How do I know? I teach college students and virtually none of them are drinking this product.”
What’s more, Coke seems to have placed a higher priority on globalism than on business competence. As Greenfield notes, “[Coke] has a British CEO who pledged allegiance at Davos to a ‘new social contract’ and an ‘economy that works for everyone.’ He took over from the company’s previous Turkish CEO, and the Turkish CEO’s South African predecessor. The head of Coca Cola in North America is a Honduran who came out of its Latin American division.”
National Review’s Dan McLaughlin writes
“Conservatives who are tempted to despair over the abrupt shift of major corporations into engines of [the] left-wing culture war might want to take a look at Coca-Cola. Recent developments suggest that Coke is rethinking woke.”
Having suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram for their refusal to censor then-President Donald Trump, having been embarrassed by leaked slides from a training program that told Coke employees to “try to be less white,” and having been outed for instituting strict requirements for hiring lawyers based on their race, Coke began to feel the heat from a normally quiet Right. This included Trump and Senator Rand Paul calling for a boycott of Coke, and Senator Ted Cruz tweeting, “I wonder who the largest institutional purchasers of Coca-Cola are? Do they all agree with WokeCoke radical politics?”
I wonder who the largest institutional purchasers of @CocaCola are?
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 5, 2021
A smaller number of Americans, who probably don’t really like drinking Coca-Cola at all, probably happen to love the new Woke Coke’s politics — though they still likely hate all their corporate profits, and wish that politicians would limit or eliminate sugary drinks as a consumer choice, for the sake of public health. A larger number of Americans probably love Coca-Cola’s American history and the brand, have been loyal customers for years and would prefer that consumers, not government, should decide Americans’ beverage preferences — but will henceforth avoid buying Coca-Cola products, or even displaying its memorabilia, wherever possible.
Coca-Cola can fire the people responsible for pitching the stupid ideas behind its recent wokeness, as it has, but it’s hard to imagine an outcome where Coke finds anything close to the soft landing that its good fortune, and red-blooded Americans’ goodwill, provided it back the 1980s.