Coke preaches to choir while forcing political correctness on the congregation …

Coke now claims to that they have a new high level executive preaching a back to basics approach. They hope that this will get their North American sales back on track.

When we read that report we actually began to laugh. Who in the world are they trying to kid? That is exactly the message being delivered by the thousands who are now boycotting Coke Products:

Get out of politics and back to selling soft drinks. Quit using our money to force political correctness on the public.

As long as the Coke management

[sic] team insists on placing a politically correct agenda ahead of selling soft drinks their sales will suffer. You do not even have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Some of this management [sic] team need to go back to remedial Marketing 101:
Current customers buy more products than former customers.

If we had not already given Coke a Duh! Award the statements of their new guru, Irial Finan would qualify.

But since Mr. Finan has at least recognized that Coke needs to get back to basics we are preparing a letter to him. It will posted for review and comment in a few days.

Also as feedback from the request fo where you want to take this effort the following suggestions were received:

Expand the effort by listing all of Coke products more clearly. – A very good suggestion which is going to be implemented.
Take up a collection to buy newspaper ads. This was suggested to make this effort more visible to the public.
Conduct "Flaggings" at several Coke facilities on the same day in multiple States. This is also an excellent idea.
Several others were received but the above three were the most common. To make it easier for you to send your suggestions we have setup a new email address:

Back to the subject at hand, Mr. Finan stated the obvious:

In the United States, where Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises is the dominant bottler, performance hasn’t been up to par. CCE’s sales volume declined 1.5 percent in 2004.

Mr. Finan, needs to consider another question: How much is Coke willing pay to continue its anti-Southern agenda?

When we first contacted Coke with our complaint the official response we got was very blunt and to the effect of:

You are not organized enough to waste our time on.

Well we are still growing, and Coke sales are still declining. Perhaps it is time for Coke to truly get back to basics and out of politics!

In the meantime continue to get the steady stream of petition signatures:

Coke exec demands bottlers do better

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/18/05
A key Coca-Cola executive is preaching a back-to-basics approach in hopes of getting the company’s powerful but sometimes underperforming bottling system to ring up more sales.

Irial Finan, an up-and-comer in Coke circles, is trying to renew a focus on strong performance. His tactics include bringing back some lessons from the 1980s, when Coke was on a roll that lasted into the next decade.

Finan, a close confidant of Chairman and CEO E. Neville Isdell, was summoned last year to oversee the company’s multibillion-dollar bottling system investments. Like Isdell, he’s emphasizing better marketplace execution.

"I come across too many people who say, ‘Oh, we’ll fix that tomorrow,’ " Finan said at an investor conference Thursday in New York, his first such appearance since taking the job. "I can tell you one thing: Fixing it tomorrow is losing. You do it right today. And if you don’t want to do it right today, you’re not on our team."

Finan and Isdell both have long histories in the Coke bottling system and are pounding away at similar themes. Before going to Coke headquarters in August, Finan, 47, had been CEO of Greece-based Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co., one of the world’s largest bottlers.

"We don’t sell cases in our headquarters," Finan said. "We sell cases on the streets, and how we perform on the streets is the difference between success and failure."

Coke is a ubiquitous product, but Finan sees room to increase availability. Ten years ago, "you couldn’t find beverages in Home Depot," he said. "Now you can. The more availability we have, the more chance we have of being successful."

Finan also wants workers throughout the Coke bottling system — there are about 500,000 — to focus on basics like getting the company’s brands into the best spots in stores. "We’re about doing the right things terribly well, every day," Finan said. "We are not there today."

The Coke system, which includes companies that are independent or partly or fully owned by Coca-Cola, is a global behemoth. Finan is grappling with problems in huge markets, notably Germany and the United States.

Coke is trying to consolidate its German system from nine bottlers to one.

In the United States, where Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises is the dominant bottler, performance hasn’t been up to par. CCE’s sales volume declined 1.5 percent in 2004.

Finan said he spent two days this week touring stores in Florida with CCE President and CEO John Alm. Coke owns about 36 percent of CCE, and Finan is on the bottler’s board.

While Finan wants better results, he also noted that bottlers have already seen improvements.

From 1999 to 2004, operating income grew by an average of 17 percent a year for bottlers that are partly or wholly owned by Coke.

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