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Coca Cola appealed to the needs of rural population by adopting message Thanda Matlab Coca
Cola which translates to Coke means refreshment. It fulfilled both the needs of quenching the
thirst and making them believe that they were drinking a luxury product. The campaign won the
Advertiser of the Year Award and Campaign of the Year Award in 2003

They also targeted the urban consumer by adopting the message life ho to aisi which translates to
life as it should be and thus instilling the idea, in the middle and rich class, that they have earned it
after all.


In Belgium, consumers complained about an irregular taste and smell in bottled soft drinks and
reports suggest that more than 100 students fell ill after reporting an unpleasant odour on the
outside of canned products. It even led to hospitalisation of some students. The Coca-Cola Company
had to withdraw all its trade-marked products from Belgian market.

The company made its first public statement after a week. Doug Ivester, the then CEO said:

The CocaCola Companys highest priority is the quality of our products. For 113 years our success
has been based on the trust that consumers have in that quality. That trust is sacred to us. I want to
reassure our consumers, customers, and government officials in Europe that The CocaCola Company
is taking all necessary steps to ensure that all our products meet the highest quality standards.
Nothing less is acceptable to us and we will not rest until we ensure that this job is complete. We
deeply regret any problems encountered by our European consumers in the past few days

In the meanwhile company found out two problems:

1. Off-quality Carbon dioxide affected the taste and odour of some bottled drinks.
2. There was an Offensive odour on outside of some canned drinks.

In June 1999, the Belgian ministry lifted the ban on the condition that the company uses fresh basic
material and enhance safety measures.

In another statement, Ivester said:

We respect the Ministrys obligation to the people in these times of deep sensitivity to public health
issues. Nothing is more important than protecting the publics health, and we have worked very
closely and intensively with the Ministry, providing significant amounts of information confirming
complete confidence in the safety of our products and packages.

Ivester in another effort apologised to the Belgian government and to consumers in newspaper and
broadcast advertisements. Through these ads he stated that he was sorry for the inconvenience
caused exclaiming:
We let down the people of Belgium, and were sorry for that, but now were committed to do what
it takes to earn their complete trust again. For decades, weve worked very hard to establish
ourselves as true leaders in providing high quality consumer products

Later the company went for aggressive marketing campaign to regain consumer trust, confidence,
and market share with events like The CocaCola Beach Party and Belgiums annual CocaCola
Summer Tour. Nevertheless, the incident caused substantial financial losses and damage to brand
image of the company.

Objective(Include this)

The Belgian crisis incident is used to demonstrate how organisational challenges and issues threaten
the company existence in the market and how the companies perform strategic crisis management
using public statements and how they go about rebuilding their brand image.