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Are You Doing too Much?

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Why Coca-Cola Continues Selling Us Happiness

Photo by Roman Khripkov on Unsplash

The Origin

Coca-Cola, or more popularly known as Coke, was first invented in May 1886 within an Atlanta-based pharmacy called Pemberton Chemical Company, which was run by Dr. John Pemberton. His bookkeeper at that time, Frank Robinson, came up with the name for the drink and penned it in the flowing script that is now recognized as the Coca-Cola trademark. The beverage’s rising demand and the idea of making it mobile inspired the bottling of this famous fizzy drink.

During its first year since the launch, Pemberton managed to sell only nine glasses of the beverage per day for five cents a glass. They have most certainly come a long way since then…Currently, selling its products at an estimated rate of 1.7 billion servings a day.

What does this mean?

This indicates that almost one in four people are buying something from Coca-Cola every day.

The Coca Cola Company owns and controls over four of the world’s largest-selling aerated drinks. With Coca-Cola being their marquee product, they also have Fanta, Sprite, and Relentless, among other 500 brands as part of their portfolio.

So Why Do We Buy Happiness?

Almost the whole world recognizes the famous red and white Coca-Cola logo. Coca-Cola spends nearly 10% of their revenue on advertising and marketing campaigns each year. Luckily enough for them, their revenue streams allow them to experiment and get creative with their marketing, never failing to remind us why they are as successful as they are.

But, how do they do it?

Well, the secret is training our brains to associate the brand with positive feelings of happiness, joy, love, or anything, rather than the soda itself. The reason why selling happiness helps move products, could be that happiness is often conflated with meaning in life.

A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies revealed that fast food and soft drink consumption is positively correlated with the risk of being overweight, but negatively correlated with unhappiness. In other words, junk food and soft drinks are making us fatter, but infact, happier.

A great example here would be Coca-Cola’s 1995 Christmas advertisement campaign.

Photo by Mateusz Dach from Pexels

For most people, this advertisement is iconic, the arrival of the holidays is portrayed with the emerging Coca-Cola truck. But, now we understand that rather than attempting to sell the drink, Coca-Cola focuses on selling abstract positive concepts of happiness, family, and sharing. They have clearly done a marvellous job.

The Takeaway

The first takeaway for me is that moment-to-moment happiness should not be our top priority. The Coca-Cola Company want us to crave the “happiness” that they are offering in the moment, regardless of the future. I wouldn’t say the brand Coca-Cola resonates as an altruistic brand, but they are most often interested in improving their bottom line.

Another takeaway is that building a successful global brand like Coca Cola is not easy. It is a product of immense struggle and hard work. Making human connections, remaining innovative while also staying true to their roots, and creating branded experiences are all great marketing tools adopted by Coca-Cola to retain its place as an industry leader.

Coca-Cola, in a very smart and effective way, has helped us define our life decisions for us.


Well..its understood that life includes a lot of daily tasks. These tasks might be different for each one of us. Some of them might include doing chores, getting groceries, changing diapers, worrying about things you care about, and fighting for the things you believe in.

In moments like these, Coca-Cola encourages us to have a coke and Taste the feeling.

Why Coca-Cola Continues Selling Us Happiness was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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