I can vividly remember the class when one of my marketing professors explained the evolution of the Coca-Cola brand. I remember being completely hooked by what he was saying, wishing that class to last forever. As a marketing student, everything related to Coca-Cola was just paradise. As a PepsiCo ex-worker, I have never said that, alright?
One of the things he explained and stuck in my head was how the company had some trouble finding the right Chinese trademark of Coca-Cola back in the 20s. The trademark of a company is its life, so it was a big deal. They needed to find the Chinese characters whose pronunciations approximated the sounds “ko-ka-ko-la”, but when they did, they realized that the meaning was completely inappropriate. “Female horse stuffed with wax” – not exactly what you want to picture while drinking a soda, huh? They finally found a close phonetic equivalent, “kekou-kele”, which resulted in a much better translation… “let your mouth rejoice”.
This story always reminds me the importance of taking cultural differences into account and embrace them, either in a company or in real life!
These photos were taken in the World of Coca-Cola, a museum where you can tour through and experience the story of the brand. The best part was hands down the tasting room, – or Sugarland –, however you wanna call it. It’s a huge room filled with endless fountains of 60+ Coca-Cola products from around the world… all you can drink! It’s all fun and games until you start feeling a bit woozy from all the sugar and get sick for the rest of the week.
Growing up in Europe, I’m used to different Coke flavors. It was so interesting seeing how my taste didn’t match at all with Dan’s – he hated everything I liked it, and viceversa. For example, in Spain we don’t have Cherry Coke. I had never understood why until I found a little store in the beach that sold it and got one. Dan and I wanted to introduce my family to the new flavor and see how they liked it. Do you wanna know what happened? Well, every single one of my relatives had the exact same reaction:
“EWWW!! What the heck is this??? What a way to mess up a Coke! This is disgusting! Give me water, give me wateeeer!!! I don’t want this flavor in my mouth one more second!”
So now you know… don’t you ever dare to offer a Cherry Coke to a Spaniard unless you try intentionally to piss him off.
Have a nice evening!