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Coke Puts Its Brand between a Rock and a Hard Place: Aligning Activism with Brand Purpose
Whitler, Kimberly A.; Wooten, David; Nolan, Liam Case M-1019 / Published September 3, 2021 / 17 pages.
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Product Overview

This case is used in Darden’s course elective, “The Brand Strategist’s Toolkit: Creating, Developing, and Managing Superior Brands.” The case discusses the fallout following the Coca-Cola Company's (Coke's) response to the new Georgia voting laws in 2021, addressing both marketing and brand purpose from an unbiased perspective. According to the bill’s sponsor and chair of the House Special Committee on Election Integrity, Republican Barry Fleming, the bill included voting reforms that were “designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system.” Georgia governor Brian Kemp further claimed the bill “expands access to the polls and ensures the integrity of the ballot box.” An article published in Popular Information shortly thereafter suggested that the bill was created to “restrict voting” and “significantly suppress voting in Georgia…in a way that would disproportionately impact the Black community” while also exposing that Coke had donated over $34,000 to sponsors of legislation designed to restrict voting. The article further highlighted that while Coke was funding such efforts, the company had publicly embraced voting rights in prior ads. This led to Coke being urged by consumers to make a statement regarding the new law.


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  • Overview

    This case is used in Darden’s course elective, “The Brand Strategist’s Toolkit: Creating, Developing, and Managing Superior Brands.” The case discusses the fallout following the Coca-Cola Company's (Coke's) response to the new Georgia voting laws in 2021, addressing both marketing and brand purpose from an unbiased perspective. According to the bill’s sponsor and chair of the House Special Committee on Election Integrity, Republican Barry Fleming, the bill included voting reforms that were “designed to begin to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system.” Georgia governor Brian Kemp further claimed the bill “expands access to the polls and ensures the integrity of the ballot box.” An article published in Popular Information shortly thereafter suggested that the bill was created to “restrict voting” and “significantly suppress voting in Georgia…in a way that would disproportionately impact the Black community” while also exposing that Coke had donated over $34,000 to sponsors of legislation designed to restrict voting. The article further highlighted that while Coke was funding such efforts, the company had publicly embraced voting rights in prior ads. This led to Coke being urged by consumers to make a statement regarding the new law.

  • Learning Objectives