Research Paper





Research Paper


            International companies compete aggressively within the international platforms using diverse strategies to ensure their survival and growth. One of the most exploited areas is that f advertising. Promotional activities have long been used by organizations and even countries to further their economic interests abroad. This level of advertising puts into consideration among other things, content, costs and cultural impact. This last aspect forms the backbone of the different discussions and analysis on international advertisements and their consideration for diverse cultures. The case study for this paper is Coca Cola Company, an international beverage manufacturer and vendor located in the United States. The company engages in global manufacturing, promotion and vending of non-alcoholic drinks and syrups. Coke ha a wide range of brands including Minute Maid, Dasani, Coca Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola and others. This research paper concentrates on the cultural aspects of marketing linked to Coca-Cola, one of its major products.

Problem Statement

            Coca Cola as an international beverage marketer reaches out a massive number of consumers. These consumers originate from different backgrounds and cultures spread across different continents. Therefore, they hold a wide array of values, interests and norms. Furthermore, these values transform with time making the situation constantly dynamic. Coca Cola is forced to have a culturally aware approach when dealing with different regions across the world. Failure to do so results in the violation of long-standing values and traditions that will result in damages to the company’s reputation and financial standing.

Research Objectives

  • To outline the consistent marketing campaigns by Coca-Cola company across different cultures
  • To investigate the transformation of products in line with the interests of different cultures
  • To examine elements of cultural imperialism within Coke’s marketing strategies

Literature Review

            This section of the research paper seeks to achieve numerous objective two of them being to outline the consistent elements in Coca Cola marketing strategies across different cultures and to discuss the academic opinions of different experts and authors. Coca-Cola marketing campaign formulate content that reflects the messages they desire to deliver, and imagery, words and music included within them have been polished by marketing experts to achieve the same effect (Holt, and Cameron 25). Communication sent through the different elements promoting the Coca-Cola brand can be categorized into three groups: satisfying the global thirst, branding Coca-Cola as a stylish drink, and integrating Coca-Cola into the lifestyles of consumers (Hayden, and El-Ojeili 56). Marketing initiatives and materials employed by Coca-Cola attempts to deliver a message that their beverage quenches the thirst in the most effective manner. It is for this reason that Coca-Cola has a massive preference to the tune of several millions. However, numerous social scientists as well as marketing professionals including Bsonera (2009) have questioned the ability of the drink meet its promise concerning thirst. Instead, he proposed that the concept of ‘thirst’ was artificially developed by marketing professionals to attract customers. The thirst as perceived by Coca-Cola is essentially different from the ordinary thirst for water (Holt, and Cameron 21).

Freudian Arguments on Coca Cola Advertising

            According to Freud (2005), the actions of most human beings are inspired by two factors: sexual fulfillment and the desire to be distinguished. These two elements can be perceived as a dilemma and necessity that have to be fulfilled. In particular, certain individuals seek to meet the desire to be popular by trying to be fashionable and trendy and linking themselves to reputable, illustrious, and prosperous personalities (Hayden, and El-Ojeili 23). This concept is applied by organizations such as Coca-Cola Company to employ distinguished individuals assumed to be successful for instance, Wayne Rooney, LeBron James, and Taylor Swift to create greater publicity (Holt, and Cameron 56). Consequently, other consumers will subscribe to these products and services since they need to be prominent and prosperous as well. This is a fractional explanation for the themes in some Coca-Cola advertisement where celebrities are shown.

Ernest Dichter Arguments on Coca Cola Advertising

            Dichter argued that every product or service possessed an image and a character. Consequently, people purchased them for their main purpose as well as for the values it exemplified. An individual’s assets are an extension of their own characters that act as a reflection of their inner selves (Holt, and Cameron 43). Dichter’s approach is commonly branded as motivational marketing mainly because it applies different techniques from psychology in the advertising and marketing field (Hayden, and El-Ojeili 34). Freudian concepts are evident in Dichter’s analyses that were occasionally outlined in accurate detail. For instance, Dichter emphasized that the impact of early toilet training was responsible for consumer reactions to behaviors such as cleaning products and welfare projects. He argued that humans are mostly immature, controlled by unreasonable insecurity and inspired by erotic thoughts. Motivation research was very popular among marketing stakeholders around 1950s as it presented persuasive and typically astounding explanations for consumer behavior (Hayden, and El-Ojeili 12). Most of these revolved around sexual themes. The successive sections discuss the marketing efforts by the Coca Cola Company across diverse cultures in the world.

            Coca Cola has largely embraced and expounded on the relatively new phenomenon of glocalization. This concept can be defined as adoption of global products, services, and techniques in a local context to ensure that they fit the specific local setting in which they are introduced. It involves unifying aspects of globalization and localization. In the past, Coca Cola has developed a warm advertisementthat featured the song America the Beautiful in different languages. The commercial appealed todifferent groups of people in the society (Holt, and Cameron 78). Even more important, it stressed the company’s acknowledgment of cultural diversity. This and other campaigns are a constant reinforcement among the consumers that Coca Cola embraces unity and togetherness.Delivering the brand’s image andexpected advertisingmessage acrossdifferent cultures requires a delicate balance of culturalunderstanding and translations.Coca Cola has successfully achieved overcome this challenge. The first strategy involvedsoft drinkglocalizationfor domestic audiences. This created a sense of value, exclusivity and respect among the people of diverse cultural groups. Thesecond approach involvedusing the membersof unexplored culturesto assist Coca Colathrough the provision of valuable social and cultural data tofacilitate penetration in the soft drink market (Holt, and Cameron 72).

Glocalizing or Cultural Imperialism

Culture has a central significance in global advertising. As one of the authors on culture, Hofstede has contributed immensely in the understanding of cultural dimensions as well as the categorization of cultures and nations. Cultural differences have been analyzed in several cross-cultural advertising researches, specifically content analyses. Most of these studies seek to compare Eastern countries such as Japan and China against their Western counterparts such as USA and Britain. Several authors have undertaken studies involving both Eastern and Western countries and the results of these studies have revealed that American adverts normally target specific consumer needs and issues (Holt, and Cameron 39). Western advertisers employed famous personalities, industrial professionals and consumers to deliver the message of product benefits to consumers such as dietary values and safety of the products. Conversely, conservative regions such as North Korea and Taiwan had commercials that tied the product to the user’s customary values, such as reverence for authority and family ties.


            The purpose of the research paper is to examine the level of uniformity in the different cross-cultural strategies used by Coca Cola. The strategy used for data collection involved a content analysis of five major television shows being aired in the United States and Japan. Since Coca-Cola is a valuable brand globally, comprehending the way in which the company embraced glocalization appears as a useful point of investigation (Holt, and Cameron 26). Coke-Cola strives to glocalize its marketing communications strategy with the ultimate need of maintaining consistency in its external perception and image. The company is also interested in respecting the wide diversity of cultural and traditional differences that it encounters in foreign markets. This analysis selected the popular TV commercials dubbed “Happiness Factory” since it was aired in both Japan and the US.

Measures and Results

            The following elements were analyzed in the “Happiness Factory” advertisement. Characters, length, music, screen captions and slogans were examined for their similarity and differences across the two countries. These elements were either classified as local, glocal or global. The results of the analysis are as follows. In the Japanese and American adverts, only local natives were used. In terms of length, the American commercial was significantly shorter compared to the Japanese one. This is probably because of the expensive airtime rates as well as the crowded nature of American media. In terms of the settings, both Japanese and American adverts had the seam context of a factory. However, the vending machine in the advertisement was modified with the appropriate language of the country. Lastly, the slogans and language used in the commercials were different. From the above analysis, the following conclusions are clear. The Japanese society is very close knit and traditional. This makes it difficult to embrace modern and informal values or icons. Another finding is that music and language are two major elements of culture that cannot be overlooked in the process of developing culturally appropriate marketing strategies.


From the analysis, it is clear that Coca-Cola has embraced a glocal strategy in their advertising efforts. In this study, it emerges that Coca-Cola implements a standardized advertising strategy across different countries. In earlier literature, all the evidence points toward a glocal strategy. The analysis of various related literature revealed the way in which the company has applied this diversification strategy in all media channels including its own website as well as social media (Holt, and Cameron 25). In the discussion, it also emerged that a specific group of elements within the advertisements were less regulated. Examples of such strict areas include the overriding caption and Coca Cola slogan that were highly standardized. This is expected since the soft drink is not affected by language or cultural preferences. The development of other aspects in the commercials was guided by glocal strategy. Context, characters and storyline are moderately global and local. In this way, Coca-cola can express their message to the natives in a way that they can comprehend. Within this research paper, it also emerged that Coca-Cola applied glocal advertising strategy in its communication with global consumers. Coca-cola achieves this objective by outsourcing local people in foreign countries to ensure they maintain cultural integrity and authenticity. However, in all these campaigns, the approach involving changing the product to meet the needs of the people in that region is evident (Hill 45).

In all the Coca Cola glocal advertising strategy, the common idea of thinking globally and the n translating it into the local context during implementation is clear. The global soft drink manufacturer applies glocal strategy while advertising to create a connection with the local consumers. The analysis of “Happiness Factory” reveals the detailed implementation of the glocal strategy. Apart from this, the paper also discussed the extent to which Coca Cola’s strategy can be classified as either a glocalization strategy or a cultural imperialism strategy. The structure and growth of Coca Cola over the years exhibits a high likelihood of being the former mainly because of its close relationship with the government, the constant endorsement of American pop culture as well as it numerous allegations of exploiting the multinational resources (Howes 46). From the research study, Coca Cola merges as a company that has managed to fuse local and global interests successfully.Decisions concerning the amount of glocalizationhave an effect on the messages relayed to different markets. The lessons of this study can be implemented in the current industrial situation.

Works Cited

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Hayden, Patrick, and Chamsy El-Ojeili. Globalization and Utopia: Critical Essays. Basingstoke England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.

Hill, Charles W. L. International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education, 2014. Print.

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Holt, Douglas B, and Douglas Cameron. Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

Howes, David. Cross-cultural Consumption: Global Markets, Local Realities. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.

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