How Coke Uses Culture to be More Effective

By Josephine Tolosa

It’s been a few months since I moved to the United States from the Philippines and as I adjust to differences in culture and language, I cannot help but compare the subtle differences in the positioning of global brands. It intrigues me that while campaign slogans remain the same, the messaging and images they use to convey those taglines are very different.

The Share-a-Coke campaign, which was first rolled out in Australia a few years back and has been picked up in the US for the summer, was also introduced in the Philippines in 2014. This campaign allows you to personalize bottles by printing individual names or other social words such as Dad, Mom, or Bestie instead of the usual Coke label.

US Context

In the US, two ads were shown to introduce the campaign. The first one follows Bobby, the dog, as he searched for a bottle with his own name. I believe that this ad was targeted mostly to millennial and boomers which, if combined, make up an estimated 48% of the American population. The choice of personalizing a pet also has a wide appeal because according to the Humane Society, an estimated 47% of American households have a dog while 62% of households have at least one pet. The second ad was also targeted to a specific public, teenagers or Gen Z, and it shows a growing number of friends sharing a coke with each other.

Philippine Context

In the Philippines, the first ad was very simple and follows the same pattern as the US commercial. It shows a group of teenagers sharing Cokes with one another. Teens in the range of 15-24 comprise of 19% of the population. The second ad however was targeted to a wider audience: the working population and those in the age of 25-54. This makes up about 37% of the Philippine population.

Coke’s ads in both countries try to elicit certain emotions of connectivity and togetherness regardless of race, age, or even species. The target audiences are the same as well and Coke targets the same age range within the population. However, in the Philippine context, Coke adds another layer to its frame and message. It adds everyday situations to bring out emotions of gratitude, appreciation, and happiness. This is especially relevant for the 12th most populated country in the world where menial jobs are often taken for granted. I believe this was important for Coca-Cola so that it can extend its campaign and also tie in with their main slogan of happiness.

Especially now, when US sales have been stagnant, Coca-Cola has to step up efforts in order to maintain its success as a global brand. By effectively changing it’s framing and messaging to fit a country’s culture without changing its overall company’s positioning; I believe they have been successful.coca-cola-statistic_id225388_companys-market-share-in-the-us-2004-2013

For a non-soda drinker, it has been a while since Coke has caught my attention but this Share-a-Coke campaign has made me spend more time in the soda aisle, carefully checking for a bottle that holds names of my family and friends.

View the ads here:


Josephine Tolosa is taking her Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. 

15 Americans and 3 women among the World’s Top 20 Richest

The Forbes Magazine Billionaires List

This year’s list on the world’s richest found 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion. That number is up from $6.4 trillion a year ago. The list includes 290 newcomers, 71 of whom hail from China. There are also a record number of 46 young billionaires under the age of 40.

Bill Gates is once again the richest person on the planet with $79.2 billion, a title he has held for 16 years. Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico came in at No. 2 while Warren Buffett took back the No. 3 spot from Spain’s Amancio Ortega who slipped back to No. 4. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg moved up to No. 16, his first time to be ranked among the world’s 20 richest.

Read the full report here:

Forbes top 10


If you’re a woman with big dreams you may want to move there

A recent study released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and published by the Washington Post shows that nearly a third of all businesses around the world are now owned or managed by women. Additionally, women now hold roughly 40 percent of jobs around the globe. While these numbers may seem encouraging, there is still a long way to go. For example, in the United States, women hold less than 20 percent of all corporate board seats. In most developed countries, women are underrepresented on the boards of large corporations.

In developing countries, however, women seem to have more opportunity. Jamaica reigns supreme with close to 60 percent women managers. Colombia and Saint Lucia rank next with 53 and 52 percent respectively. Beyond these three, the Philippines comes in fourth with just under 48 percent female managers.

The countries with the lowest number of employed women managers are Yemen, Pakistan, and Algeria with 4.9, 3, and 2.1 percent of women bosses. The rest of the bottom ten are from countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Women Employment2

Read the full report here:

Oreo: how a global brand adapted to local tastes

oreoOreo is the world’s favorite cookie in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Nabisco division of Mondelez International had more than $2 billion in global annual revenues for its Oreo brand. In 2012, Oreo celebrated its 100th birthday. While the cookie continues to be the most popular in the United States, new exotic flavors are sweeping the globe. Oreo’s Facebook page has more than 38 million followers from around the globe.

Mondelez’s ability to adapt to local tastes is important as it continues to look for overseas growth. In 2014, Mondelez’s international revenues more than doubled compared to its U.S. revenues. Oreo’s biggest markets ranking in order are United States, China, Venezuela, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Central America and the Caribbean, United Kingdom and Argentina.

Global companies face a critical question when considering to enter a new market: how far should they go to localize their offerings to appeal to the local consumer? Mondelez introduced Oreo cookies to Central and Latin America in 1928 and then to Canada in 1949. In 2006, Mondelez offered a wafer cookie to Chinese consumers to familiarize them with the brand. Three years later, Mondelez worked with a Chinese consumer panel to determine the right combination of color, crunchiness, and bitterness to appeal to their tastes. The company re-engineered the traditional Oreo to be smaller and not so sweet. When Mondelez noticed their sales lagging, they introduced a green tea Oreo flavor in China that evokes eating ice cream by featuring a cooling sensation in the cream. Oreo is now the top-selling cookie in China with a market share of 13 percent.

Asia also has fruit duo Oreo cream fillings which include the side-by-side flavors of oreo chineseraspberry, blueberry, orange, mango, peach, and grape. In Indonesia, Oreo offers a chocolate and strawberry duo cookie. Meanwhile in Argentina, Oreo has introduced cookies with dulce de leche and banana cream filling. In Mexico, Oreo has three different combinations of chocolate with different chocolate flavored wafers as well as a cocoa cream filling.

This is an excerpt from the book by: Michael R Czinkota, Ilkka A Ronkainen, and Michael H. Moffett. Fundamentals of International Business (New York: Wessex, 2015), 19.  

World’s Top Languages

jeopardyQ: What is the world’s top language by number of speakers? Can you name the top ten?

Answer: Chinese is the world’s most spoken language with 1.2 billion first language speakers. English comes third after Spanish.

No of first language speakers
1 Chinese 1,197,000,000
2 Spanish 414,000,000
3 English 335,000,000
4 Hindi 260,000,000
5 Arabic 237,000,000
6 Portuguese 203,000,000
7 Bengali 193,000,000
8 Russian 167,000,000
9 Japanese 122,000,000
10 Javanese 84,300,000