“We have been ruled by men who live by illusions … the illusion that there is some other way of creating wealth than hard work and satisfying your customers.” – Margaret Thatcher
In 1886, Civil War Veteran and Georgia native John Pemberton invented what would quickly become a staple of the American South and eventually take hold of the entire world—a fizzy, syrupy, and well-revered soft drink known as “Coca-Cola.”
Sadly for Pemberton, an untimely death in 1888 kept him from seeing the commercial success of his soft drink. But Pemberton’s passing did not signal the death of his creation. Inspired by Pemberton’s own creativity in crafting the unique drink, and driven by his own fortitude for business, Asa Griggs Candler bought the patent for Coca-Cola and set out on a mission not only to successfully sell the soft drink, but also to successfully change the business landscape as the twentieth-century world knew it.
Thanks to Mr. Candler’s advertising intellect and a modernized marketing strategy, Candler was able to build up the Coca-Cola company from the ground up. Expanding on Pemberton’s promotion of his creation, Candler and the newly formed Georgia corporation, legally known as “The Coca-Cola Company,” handed out coupons around the metro Atlanta area, each promising its recipient a free glass of Coca-Cola. Going a mile beyond other entrepreneurs before him had not, Candler began marketing the company’s product by printing the company name and logo on novelty items such as fans, clocks, calendars, and even urns. Though a decidedly quirky approach, it was certainly an efficacious one. By the year 1895, not even an entire decade after Coca-Cola’s inception, the drink was sold in every U.S. state.
Although it has graduated from its days of advertising on urns, Coca-Cola, which was originally valued at a total of $2,300 and now has a value of roughly $188 billion, still engages in a unique marketing strategy. Most recently, Coca-Cola has given potential patrons the chance to “Open Happiness” for free—or for a hug at least.
This past week on campus, in order to get a Coca-Cola product, University of Georgia students simply needed to share a hug with a Coca-Cola machine, which, in turn, would dispense any one of many iconic Coca-Cola products out to the student. This machine travels not only around college campuses in the U.S., but has also made its presence internationally known as well, going as far as college campuses in Singapore to spread some of its happiness. Though a marketer for Coca-Cola told the Red & Black that the idea behind the machine, introduced in 2012, is to “spread some happiness in an otherwise tense environment,” the obviously true reason behind it is rather transparent—to continue engaging in innovative marketing strategies that boost the Coca-Cola brand.
This is not a berating of The Coca-Cola company. Rather, it is an applause—an applause for a corporation that benefits from by consumer happiness.
While Coca-Cola does spread happiness through its gimmicks, its main goal remains the goal of any business—to make a profit. And profit for any entity, as Margaret Thatcher once aptly stated, comes through the combination of hard work and customer satisfaction. The Coca-Cola company seems to have found the right balance of both.
Rest assured, one need not look far to see corporations where corruption runs rampant. However, one may have to look much harder and longer to find one of these corporations celebrate such long-term success as The Coca-Cola Company. For, just as the cycle of capitalism promotes economic opportunity through the creation of jobs in successful businesses like the Coca-Cola company, so it also presents a greater opportunity for customer satisfaction and overall happiness by bringing cheap and exciting new products to the public. Profits may rightfully be the goal of a business, but happy consumers are the exultant beneficiaries of a well-structured capitalist business venture as Coca-Cola proves.
Though the Coca-Cola machine will continue to make its way throughout the U.S. and will likely make another appearance at UGA this spring, there will certainly still be no shortage of radical left-wing, anti-capitalist college students who will vocally, and sometimes violently, reject a right-wing business agenda. In our millennial generation, it is estimated that 47 percent of people aged 18 to 29 hold anti-capitalist sentiments. It probably goes without saying that many of these students, without any conscious sense of irony, will give the Coca-Cola machine a hug anyway. And that’s okay—business does not discriminate based on ill-informed and hypocritical political preferences and neither does the beloved Coca-Cola machine. Hug away, anti-capitalist campus activists!
Students at The Arch-Conservative, however, are proud to be able to promote a system of government that allows for unique creations like a huggable Coca-Cola machine that travels to our institutions of higher learning.
For this reason, we already look forward to releasing our upcoming print edition of The Arch Conservative on October 11th and giving both our dedicated and new readers on campus the opportunity to explore all of our ideas and beliefs for themselves.
Furthermore, with the help of Business Manager Logan North and editor Michael Duckett, we have planned out a revamping of the subscription process this academic year to give more people access to our content. For more details on how to subscribe (and receive 4 issues of top-notch collegiate conservative thought!), check out our how-to page on the website. For donations over $35 on our PayPal or via mailed check or cash, our beautiful fall edition of The Arch Conservative in print, will be your doorstep a few weeks before Halloween.
And lastly, we hope that you will continue to tune in (or tune in for the first time) to one of our weekly podcasts, which can now be found on both Soundcloud and iTunes.
Wishing you a great week (and hopefully a few free Coca-Colas),