Tom Aquinas / Apr. 15, 2021

Woca-Cola: Dead Company Walking

Leftist CEOs tempt fate with one of America’s most iconic brands.

Coca-Cola’s recent support for moving the MLB All-Star Game out of Georgia to protest the state’s improvements to voter integrity is another slap in the face to honest, hard-working Georgians. And indeed all Americans.

While trying to make a social statement, Coca-Cola has hurt the hard-working employees of this once-great company, not to mention all of the other small businesses and individuals that need the economic boost such an event brings. There is nothing like punishing the little folks to show one’s true colors. Especially when the executives who made this decision live in luxury.

But what else would we expect from a company that is literally a dead company walking? I know this is true. I have some information that I will now share.

But first some perspective.

As a child growing up in the Deep South, I was introduced to Coke at an early age. Everyone drank Coke. In our true southern drawl, we called it Co-Cola. For me, a non-coffee drinker, it became my caffeine. I also drank the company’s other products, Sprite and Fresca, but of course they were never a substitute, just some variety. I forgave it for that little foray into Tab, possibly the most awful liquid any human being ever consumed.

I have even taught my business school students that Coca-Cola’s removal of the original product from the market, replacing it with “New Coke” in 1985, was not a mistake, just a business decision that looked good given the data it had. It learned what an incredible brand it was. Other business school professors have all but labeled it the biggest business blunder in history.

I have continued to drink Coca-Cola decades later. In 1986, I invested about $4,000 in its stock. That investment is worth more than $80,000 today, a modest return of about 12%. OK, but not great. And it’s easy to see why the company isn’t doing better.

It’s more concerned with its distorted notion of social justice and less concerned about why so few are drinking its product. Maybe it’s trying to deflect criticism for being such a badly run company. But with each generation, its fate becomes more clearly sealed.

This company is a dead company walking. How do I know? I teach college students and virtually none of them are drinking this product.

I believe it would be easier to find a college student who does not drink alcohol than to find one who drinks this product. Think about that for a minute.

And mull over this fact: When these students someday become parents, you can bet that their children will drink it even less. And their grandchildren will barely drink it at all. The only thing they’ll be using Coca-Cola for is exploding Mentos.

And this company will be left selling nothing but the overpriced tap water it calls Dasani and Minute Maid Orange Juice, a pathetic substitute for Simply Orange, which actually tastes the way orange juice should taste.

And the leaders of Coca-Cola apparently have no clue.

Here is my message to Coca-Cola executives: This is your corporate equivalent of climate change. The climate for your product has changed. A long-term trend is visible to us in the ranks. I know from your yachts and your Aspen ski lodges that you cannot see this so well. Young people aren’t drinking your product. And what exactly are you doing about it? Griping about a law that attempts to ensure integrity in the voting process? If you must be obsessed with your own distorted version of social justice to the extent that you ignore the fact that the next generation of consumers isn’t using your product, I cannot stop you. But I promise you that your product is dying a slow, lingering death. History will say that Dr. John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola, Asa Candler founded the company and the most remarkable and successful brand in history, and you guys sent it on a death spiral.

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