Coca-Cola is one of the few quintessential American brands on the market today: it began as a mistake but then turned into a national sensation. It began with some very questionable ingredients and still uses some questionable ingredients (can you think of any other reason why it’s the only soft drink used in BBQ sauces, but also to remove rust?). It’s fundamentally unhealthy, but it’s still sold across the world. And with its trademark red and white cans, cursive lettering, and Christmas-time polar bear commercials — Coca-Cola is easily one of the most successful and well-known American brands to exist.
Last summer, Coke unveiled some pretty unique advertising strategies, like interactive billboards for drivers and Coke bottles with a plethora of names printed on the labels, inviting the consumer to “Share a Coke With…”
This summer, Coca-Cola has taken a new direction in terms of marketing and advertising. In fact, it’s going in the complete opposite direction from last year.
Now when certain consumers pick up a can of Coke, there’s no ribbon-like “Coca-Cola” lettering on the side; instead, just a white vertical stripe on a red background, and an empty space where the logo should appear. On the other side of the can, the words read “Labels are for cans, not for people.”
CNN and Wired report that the company decided to remove its logo from Coke cans in certain Middle Eastern countries, and the unlabeled cans will be on store shelves throughout the Islamic month of Ramadan (June 17 to July 17).
Business Insider reports that the cans are part of the company’s bigger campaign, “Let’s take an extra second.”
According to an official statement from Coca-Cola, the underlying goal of the no-label campaign is to promote equality and justice in countries where stereotypes are far too prevalent — and to do so by taking advantage of the brand’s popularity.
So will Coke cans actually encourage people in the Middle East to reconsider popular stereotypes? Probably not. But it’s an interesting strategy for promoting a business’s brand, and it’s likely that Coca-Cola is one of the very few American businesses that could pull it off.