Small World Machines – when Coca-Cola did good

I’m usually a sceptic of advertising, especially by FMCG companies (I know, ironic, considering I work in marketing), but this one deservedly won the accolades. Coca-Cola’s Small World Machines campaign actually turned attention to an existing geopolitical issue, and put a positive story out in the world. I dare you to not feel good after watching this:

What surprised me however (well, not really, it was to be expected), is how many people found fault with this campaign, because inherently Coke’s core products aren’t good themselves. I.e. “this is all crap because Coca-Cola is an evil corporation and it’s just an ad gimmick”

Now, I’m all up for making a stand – I made one myself when I decided, as a marketer, that I can never work for an FMCG company if I’m to live my sustainability principles – but to deny a corporation’s good effort because generally the business is not good is short-sighted. It’s like wanting your husband to cook more often, but then complaning his food tastes aweful every time he tries.

The positive development needs to be encouraged, in the hope there will be more. Coca-Cola is one of the most powerful organisations in the world – there are places in many countries where there are no schools, no hospitals, no proper utilities even – but there are red and white Coke machines. So how about we capitalize on this infrastructure and insist on it being used for good causes, instead of fighting to eradicate it?

No amount of campaigning by health and environmental groups will ever push Coke out of business, because there will be always more people drinking brown sugared water than those who care about societal issues. So let’s encourage the good that does happen in FMCG and other industries, let’s keep corporations accountable, and leverage their resources to change things for the better. At the end, Walmart’s decision to change their supply policies made a lot more difference than countless local community organisations trying to convince people to change their lightbulbs.

Granted, I’m still not going to buy Coke’s products because they *are* bad, but I’d rather have at least some of their resources be used to making people’s lives better, than none at all.

So, in this case, good on you, Coca-Cola. One step at a time.

Now let’s stop selling than green coke in Latin America.