Coke -- Globalizing the World from Atlanta (08/03/03)

Last updated 8/6/03                                                                                                                                                            Russian Version

Thank you Ajay, Anshu and Arsh

A big thanks to my cousin Anshu and her husband Ajay, for their generous hospitality during our visit to Atlanta. A very special thanks to Arsh, my nephew, for letting us stay in his room during our visit. We had a wonderful time staying with Anshu and her family, and got to try plenty of tasty meals prepared by my cousin (seems like it wasn't too long ago that both Anshu and I were enjoying rice and dal prepared by her mother, back in India, and now she's the one preparing food, and even has a child of her own...)

99 Bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and Fanta on the wall...

It came as a bit of a surprise that one of the most popular drinks in the world, and the company with perhaps the most valuable brand (largest name recognition) both had their humble beginnings in the 19th century in Atlanta, Georgia. We visited the Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta, not too far from the Georgia Tech campus. It boggles the mind that people would pay about 6 bucks a person to hear the story of a soft-drink company and get bombarded with all sorts of marketing and Coke propaganda. Actually it isn't all that surprising since people (myself included) spend tons of money buying T-shirts which have some company's name (Nike, Reebok, etc) stamped across the front or back -- we pay money to serve as advertising for these companies, what a sweet deal for them! Anyhow, that little rant aside, I admit, I really enjoyed the museum and relished in the history of this popular drink (I'm an avid coke, well Diet Coke, now, drinker -- love that caffeine-free Diet Coke stuff the most, but Daria can't stand it...). There are a lot of fun exhibits on the history of coke, and there's even an old fashioned soda fountain, where a "soda jerk" (the name alludes to what he does and is not a commentary on his personality) explained how coke was "made" in the early days by measuring a certain amount of "magic syrup" and adding the appropriate amount of carbonated water to the syrup to make this refreshing concotion (see, I'm giving them free advertising in this blog, even as I rant about the evils of doing so in other forums). The best part of the museum is that you get to taste all the soda you want in a special tasting area that has the usual stuff (Coke, diet coke, sprite, Barq's, etc), combined with more exotic sodas owned by Coca-Cola around the world (Fanta -- a few different flavors including citrus, some sort of ginger ale drink, a Lychee drink, and many more that I'm forgetting). However, they were missing a few -- no Thumbs Up (a local coke-like drink that was immensely popular in India before Coke and Pepsi showed up and wiped it out -- it was later bought by Coca-Cola), or Apple Fanta (a flavor that was popular in Russia). Anyhow, if you're in Atlanta, you should definitely stop by -- the 6 bucks are worth it, especially if you drink some soda (which sells for about 2 bucks a bottle right outside the museum). By the way, be sure to drink plenty of coke while reading this blog, it'll, um, make you live longer or something... oh and if you're a coke marketing exec or something, contact me and we can work out some sort of advertising deal -- we can plaster Coke stuff throughout the site.