Tuesday, May 02, 2006

jack off

Jack White has written a song especially for a Coca-Cola advert.

He explained, 'to be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I'm not really used to appealed to me'.

At Leeds train station last summer, I was struck by seeing an advert for Coke that had two of the distinctive bottles with 'LO' on one and 'VE' on the other. The adjacent poster was Ford cars selling 'Ford's summer of love'.

Everyone likes love, so tell them that buying a product is buying love and they'll cough up. It's so obviously cynically manipulative that I feel like I'm insulting your intelligence pointing it out. But if Jack White, clearly a bright spark, can be taken in then something's gotta be said.

Noel Gallagher's responded

He ceases to be in the club. And he looks like Zorro on doughnuts. I don't believe in adverts. He's meant to be the posterboy for the alternative way of thinking. Coca-Cola man. Fucking hell. And OK, you want to spread your message of peace and love, but do us all a fucking favour. I'm just not having it. It's like doing a fucking gig for McDonald's.

It takes nearly three litres of water to make a litre of Coke, yet increasingly they're doing it in water deprived areas of the world because labour is cheaper and regulation on employer and environmental responsibilities is weaker.

Mark Thomas' exposing of Coke's participation in Nazi Germany, complete with nice Aryan adverts, is illuminating.

They opened up bottling plants in Sudetenland shortly after the Nazis had invaded. They exhibited at Nazi trade fairs. And in 1941 when Coca Cola GmbH could no longer get the syrup to make Coke from America they created a new drink out of the ingredients they had available to them. That drink created for the Nazi soft drink market was Fanta. Fanta is the drink of Nazis.

The excellent book by Mark Pendergrast "
For God Country and Coca Cola" describes the CEO of Coke GmbH standing under Coca Cola banners and swastikas at a Coke rally before leading the audience in the Seig Heils for Hitler. Pendergrast also points to the near certainty that Coke used forced labour in the bottling plants

This is interesting for sure, but it doesn't actually constitute a reason for disliking them today.

Mark Thomas has been clear about what they're doing these days, but more heavyweight is War On Want's recent report.

It shows that Coca Cola has:

- exhausted community water reserves in India by drilling deep into underground reservoirs, drying up local wells and leaving farmers unable to irrigate their crops.

- contaminated local ecosystems in El Salvador and India through waste effluents discharged from its plants.

- been implicated in human rights abuses in Colombia, including the death and disappearances of trade union activists at Coca-Cola bottling plants.

- adopted union-busting tactics in a wide range of other countries such as Pakistan, Turkey, Russia, Peru, Chile, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

One of the Colombian trade unionists, Isidro Seguno Gil, was killed inside the Coca-Cola plant. The paramilitaries got into the plant, found the person they were after, killed him there on the job, left the plant, and got away scot-free.

His wife campaigned for justice. She was murdered.

As well as murdering trade unionists, hundreds of other Colombian Coke workers have been tortured, kidnapped and/or illegally detained by paramilitaries working closely with Coke's plant managements.

In India, thousands of people are left without water. They walk up to seven kilometres to get drinking water, and their crops have no irrigation and fail utterly.

A worldwide song of love, eh Jack?

When you find Noel Gallagher's your spiritual and moral superior, it's time to stop doing anything at all until your soul returns.

4 comments:

Kirsty said...

Also, it's just nasty sugary shite that's only in any way bearable when drunk with a reasonable quantity of cheap whisky.

Martin said...

Plus, they pulled a swifty with the "introduce new coke flavour, no one likes it, re-introduce 'Classic' flavour" -- the 'Classic' flavour now used corn sugar rather than cane sugar... and is therefore far worse for your health... though if you're drinking the stuff that's the least of your worries, I guess.

Jim Bliss said...

Martin, both Coke and Pepsi use locally produced sugar in their soft-drinks. So in (e.g.) the American midwest the drinks contains HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) but in Brazil (e.g.) they contain Cane Syrup.

My father worked in the soft-drinks industry all my life, and I worked in one of the support industries (industrial packaging engineering & distribution logistics) for the best part of a decade.

There's already enough wrong with the global beverage industry. Inventing easily-disproved objections (or passing them on without confirming them) is probably counter-productive.

Anonymous said...

now how does that old spoof coke song go ? something like:

gutrottingthirstquenchingteethdestroying...