“Coca Colonization”

Reading Alyshia Galvez book titled Eating Nafta, I learned about the increase of obesity and health problems caused in part by a poor NAFTA deal. As I read more, I became increasingly intrigued in something she called coca colonization. Being an advertising minor I was super interested in how advertising plays such a big role in how companies such as Coca Cola are viewed in other parts of the world. And having a strong passion for social justice and thinking about pursuing a law degree I was fixated on this topic. It is what I hope to submit Assignment 3 on, and the connection between coca colonization and how it affects tourism and people and their eating habits.

Advertising can shift the way we view a company or the way we view our world. Advertising is defined as  “a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea.” But it is a lot more than that, advertising helps guide the way we see things. Coca Cola is a major soda brand that was founded in 1892, and we can credit it with creating our modern day Santa Claus. While Santa Claus existed before the Coca Cola company was founded, the image we have of him today is thanks to the Coca Cola company. Santa Claus was depicted in many different ways but “warm, happy character with human features, including rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes and laughter lines” was the doing of Haddon Sundblom an illustrator commissioned by Coca Cola to paint Santa for Christmas advertisements.

The same way that Coca Cola created a narrative in the United States as a wholesome family brand, it also fabricated a different narrative in Latin America. One of health, status, and unity. The rise of tourism and of large agricultural companies have also paved the path for as Professor Galvez called, “Big Soda” to take over the diet of countless people.

One thought on ““Coca Colonization”

  1. Good points. She also mentions that companies use marketing to promote their product, even despite the health consequences. In other words, using marketing to mask the harmful aspects. What do you think about that? How could advertising be used to push back against this in ways that align with social justice and public health?

    By the way, I have you down for all 6/6 blog posts this round. Only one more to go! Keep up the great content. 🙂


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