Coca-Cola is known for its annual holiday cans filling the glass cases of gas stations and grocery stores this time of year. Typically, they have adorable images of polar bears sleigh riding or sitting on Santa’s lap against the backdrop of the iconic red can. However, this year many consumers were unnerved to see something different. For the first time in the company’s 125 years, the cans were not red – they were white.
Upon first glance, many coke drinkers just assumed (gasp!) the store was sold out of their beloved regular Coke because they bear a close esemblance to the diet cans. Perhaps even worse, diet drinkers would unknowingly start sipping on the more sugar-packed version. Consumers were furious. It was absolute chaos. Or Coca-Cola purists would have you believe.
The company, partnered with the World Wildlife Fund, sent 1.4 billion of these cans into the market as part of its Arctic Home campaign to raise funds and awareness for the plight of endangered species, including the polar bears that have graced their holiday cans for years. The project website states “This project is helping to further WWF’s global vision to protect the Arctic, which includes working with local Indigenous communities, supporting cutting edge research, and carrying out additional conservation work with partners.”
Coca-Cola has pledged $2 million to the cause and agreed to match up to $1 million in consumer donations made through March 15, 2012. More information on the project and the endangered species it hopes to protect or to donate can be found here.
So my question to you is this: which is more important, focusing on the positive message these cans are trying to send the public or having to take an extra moment to check which drink you’re purchasing?