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Thirsty? Grab a Coke Thanks to The Four P’s

Coca-Cola has become a household name and is recognized world-wide thanks to the four P’s of marketing.

Beginning in 1886, Coca-Cola has progressed to become one of the most recognizable brand in the world through a wide variety of aggressive branding and advertising tactics.  To begin, businessman Asa Griggs Candler got the company off to an excellent start when he focused his efforts on the four “P’s” of marketing. 

First, he introduced the product to customers, helping to promote the excitement over this new drink with coupons (lowering the price) and publicized “first tastes”.  Next, he began to focus on the branding of the company, helping to place the Coca- logo as a common fixture in daily life by placing it on materials which he then distributed to all vendors of the product. 

The next stage in the Coca-Cola success was lead by Joseph Biedenharn who helped to bottle and sell the soft drink in portable glass containers.  It is at this point, with the brand now highly recognizable, the product in extreme demand, and the bottles opening new lines of distribution that promotional advertisements began to take shape.  I think that the start-up of the company also helped to adhere to the consumer decision process in that it first insists that customers “think” (“what is this new drink”), it was easy for customers to then to “feel” the product through free tastings and by making the bottles portable; and finally the likeability and continuous promotion helps them to feel comfortable when they “do” buy the product.

Coca-Cola advertisements, each with their own appeal featured everything from celebrity spokesmen and women, to beautiful and bubbly female icons, to the famed holiday figure of Santa Claus.  Each advertising campaign was specialized to appeal to the greatest current social concern.  For example, when the country was involved in conflicts and/or embarrassing and shocking internal affairs, Coca-Cola was represented as a relaxing bonding tool among friends, and as a static, true and prideful American symbol, both steadfast and respectable.  In the seventies when America began to focus on health and fitness, Coca-Cola was pictured in ads featuring sports, insinuating it to be a soothing refreshment perfect to enjoy during or after athletic activity.

As the country began to grow and expand and competitors began to arise such as Pepsi, the personalized materials that were first printed and posted by Asa Griggs Candler to help spread the brand could no longer stand alone as effective marketing tools.  This is when country-wide printed and television broadcasted advertising picked up and continued to instill and reiterate the brand.  Advertisements, though they changed in theme and illustration, continued to support the same logo with the same red and white that had been recognized since the products development.  Strength is provided in the solidity of the brand itself, as it supports a sense of familiarity, comfort and pride in a resilient, reliable icon. 

It is this very strengthening of familiarity and promotion of trust in consumers that has helped Coca-cola to continue to stand out even among competition that has offered extremely similar products.  As is obvious from the Pepsi website: http://www.pepsi.com/home.php Pepsi attempts to gain attention by being “flashy” and “hip” while Coca-Cola’s ads (seen at  http://heritage.coca-cola.com/) reach a far wider audience by submitting ads that showcase them as a “time honored tradition”.

Citations:

The Coca-Cola Heritagehttp://heritage.coca-cola.com/

Pepsi. www.pepsi.com

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