The CocaCola Company

The Coca-Cola Company:
And its Relationship with the Greater Whole

Coca-Cola is the number one captivator of people’s throats. The company, in the last one hundred years, has managed to transform people’s thirsts in to a need for Coca-Cola. The story of the Coca-Cola Company has humble beginnings. In 1885, John Pemberton, and Atlanta pharmacist, registered a trademark for “French wine cola-ideal nerve and tonic stimulant”, a brew he had developed in a three-legged pot he apparently stirred with an oar. His desire to create such a product was based upon a stomach injury and subsequent morphine addiction he acquired during the American Civil War. (Frederick p.31) His research led him to the Peruvian cola leaf whose healing effects included aiding digestion, aphrodisiacal powers, and life extending elements. He did not realize at the time that he invented the beverage that the cola leaf was as dangerous as morphine. (Frederick p.32) Nevertheless, the product was made available to the public, advertised as a means of alleviating both stomach and head aches. Pemberton did not have a very keen business sense, and so he hired Frank Robinson as the head marketer and manager of Coca-Cola. Robinson became the first in a long line of Coca-Cola men with a genius about the management of the product. By 1870, under the ownership of Asa Candler, the drink was the reason why people went to the soda fountain. (Frederick p.37) However, it was clear that the drink was still only appreciated within the southern United States. Coca-Cola’s problem with expansion at this time centered on two specific problems. Firstly, thousands of imitators made it impossible to distinguish the difference between the impostors and “the Real Thing”. However, after an extensive court battle the Company won all rights to its trademark, thus eliminating all would-be impostors from the competition. The second problem that faced the company involved the ingredients of the beverage in question. (Frederick p.45) Cocaine, a by-product of the coca leaf, was still suspected to be present in Coca-Cola. The bad effects of this narcotic were only just being discovered at the end of the nineteenth century. With such suspicions over the safety of the beverage, Coca-Cola was forced to refine its ingredients until there was absolutely no cocaine present within the beverage before trade conditions were lifted on the product. (Candler p.122) By the time Coca-Cola had managed to alleviate these situations, other companies had begun their expansion into foreign markets in search of new consumers in order to help maximize their profits. In an attempt to gain their lost ground, Coca-Cola revolutionized the soft drink industry.

Due to the nature of the product itself, the Coca-Cola company did not know how to get the syrup to various points abroad; further, soda fountains didn’t exist in Europe at the time. The idea of bottling Coca-Cola revolutionized the soft drink industry and enabled further expansion in American markets and also allowed the company to begin looking overseas for profits. They believed that bottling would allow consumers to buy mass amounts for their home and would also make expansion into foreign markets easier because they could ship the ingredients for the product all over the world to bottling plants. In 1894 the idea of bottling Coca-Cola was agreed to by the entire company. (Frederick p. 68) The business was now in the appropriate form to take on the world. In 1923, Robert Woodruff took hold of the presidency of Coca-Cola, and led the company into a new era: one that saw expansion of their production into foreign markets as their main goal. (Candler p.173)

In 1926, spurred by a curiosity about Coke’s potential to please the foreign palate, Robert Woodruff outlined a plan to test the drink in Europe. (Candler p. 14) Once it was clear that the drink would be sold overseas, there were those who recommended modifying its flavor to suit the taste buds of each nationality. Yet, Woodruff stuck to his belief in the universal appeal of Coke’s single secret, formula. Unfortunately, the bottling practices in Europe were not as sanitary as those employed in America. Consequently, those who drank the Coca-Cola in Europe, in 1922, was met with disaster. (Pendergrast p.170) Unfortunately, the bottling practices in Europe were not as sanitary as those employed