Saturday, December 17, 2005

Fighting Back

There are few more iconic brand names in the history of US capitalism than Atlanta-based Coca Cola and Detroit-based Ford. Millions of people still savour memories of spilling a coke over each other whilst grappling in the back seat of a Crown Victoria or Cortina. But the marketplace is fickle and these two business giants have decided to fight back against growing competition and regain their former greatness.

Coca Cola is reacting to the threat of becoming second to its arch-rival Pepsi Cola for the first time and the CEO says ‘this is a transitional year’. The guys in Atlanta believe that when the Creator rested on the seventh day, He flopped down next to the pool, glanced at the nubile handmaidens tanning up, and popped a can of Classic Coke. Stoked with fervour, Mary Minnick, president of Coke’s global marketing, has announced a two-pronged campaign to beat back Pepsi. The company is introducing a new slogan for Coca Cola while it busily introduces a whole new set of beverages that are not Coca Cola. The advertising guys are getting ready to flood the market with the new slogan: ‘Welcome to the Coke side of life!’. (They are optimistic that they can get most of the supermodels in the world to appear in the adverts since most of the supermodels in the world spend most of their time stumbling around on the coke side of life.)

Meanwhile, back at the lab, a new range of drinks is being developed. A citrus energy drink called ‘Vault’ and a diet version called ‘Vault Zero’ are in development in response to the global crisis resulting from a shortage of energy drinks. For consumers who want more than energy, ‘Blak’ is on the way. This new cola based coffee drink will appeal to the market segment that enjoys poking wire coat hangers into electrical outlets and wants to stay awake for Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle in one sitting. Apparently ‘blak’ is the sound a person makes running head first into a concrete bridge abutment.

Ford is also going through a transitional year. It is transitioning from losing market share, money and credit ratings to losing more market share, money and credit ratings. Bill Ford, CEO, has decided that a new slogan will not be enough to reverse the company’s fortunes. ‘Welcome to the side of the road’ lacks a certain marketing flair. Noting that Japanese auto makers have already used all the nifty names for their models, the company admits competition is getting tougher. A spokesman said ‘We think Aïda, Rigoletto and La Forza del Destino have real buyer appeal, but let’s face it, Verdi only wrote so many operas.’ Product innovation is also not enough to get the job done, although the new line of fuzzy dice is considered to be an engineering breakthrough.

Ford has decided to defeat the enemy by closing 10 plants, laying off 30,000 people, and building fewer cars. Discussing a recent board meeting, the CEO said ‘I voted to make more cars before I voted to make fewer cars. I think we have to attack GM by aggressively announcing a time-line to withdraw our SUV’s and support our brave dealers in the fight for market share until next August.’ Senator John Kerry immediately praised the new strategy.

H I is investigating reports that Coca Cola and Ford are planning to combine forces. Detroit should be a perfect test market for their new joint slogan: ‘Drive-bys and coke go together.’


Blogger RightOnPeachtree said...

These old, venerable companies do have to adjust or fade away. If they rest on their laurels while the world around them is changing, they will head quickly into obsoletion.

I think Coke can do it. They survived New Coke in the 80's and that was a huge debacle. But those folks can sell popsicles to eskimoes.

Ford? I'm not as confident about them. They need to be a leader again and not a follower. And when China starts pumping out cars by the millions? Watch out. The Ford brand is well-known, but I don't know if it's that well-respected.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Africanuck said...

"They are optimistic that they can get most of the supermodels in the world to appear in the adverts since most of the supermodels in the world spend most of their time stumbling around on the coke side of life."

You never fail to make me laugh, I don't know how you come up with this stuff!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Homo Insapiens said...

Mike, thanks for your comment. Perhaps future generations will guzzle Blak whilst grappling in the back seat of a Honda. At least they will not doze off after coupling.


Africanuck -- good to hear from you! Inspiration can be found midst the fabled columns of Luxor -or in a good pint.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Ford would do well to improve quality again. Coke will fine, its all marketing.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Ajay Shroff said...

Nice Blog. Must add this to my daily trail.

8:45 AM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

"new coke" was the best marketing ever. Hands down. It had folks saying things like "the new stuff is crap it tastes just like Pepsi" all over the news. Marketing genius.

However, the entire Ring cycle? that's really saying something...


8:23 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:23 PM  

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