Monday, February 21, 2011

Open Happiness, Anywhere

Like a scene straight out of an ad man's dream, I spent a few minutes this morning observing a Coca-Cola truck making its rounds to all the local tuck shops this morning. There was the dusty dirt road, the shrieking barefoot children, the grateful shopkeeper and, of course, the bright, shiny red truck embellished with the company name and slogan in glossy white. "Coca-Cola. Open Happiness!"

Indeed, it seems one can open happiness just about anywhere. Loopeng receives regular deliveries of only two products typically stocked at a village shop. The first is bread, and the second is an array of Coke products. Should you want a vegetable in the village, sorry, too bad, that will never happen. Should you like a Sprite, well, what size and how many? Coke's commitment to using the underdeveloped world to tap new markets is both impressive and a bit scary. Of all the material goods the first world could export, the most successful and widely accepted is soda? A drink so laden with sugar it's actually detrimental to one's health?

Maybe I wouldn't be so critical if Pepsi would get its act together and get out here. In any case, way to go, capitalism! For all of the product's negative effects on health, I'm certain the company has had a positive effect on South Africa and its economy. Still, Pepsi? Are you listening?

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