The Coca-Cola Company is the world's biggest drinks company, controlling more than half the global market in carbonated soft drinks as well as a substantial chunk of the somewhat larger non-carbonated segment. It owns four of the world's five best-selling soft drinks. Its principal brand is of course Coca-Cola itself, the world's best-known and most valuable non-technology brand. But the company also sells more than 500 other beverage brands ranging from variants like Diet Coke and sister products such as Fanta and Sprite to a vast range of carbonated and non-carbonated juice-based drinks, bottled waters, iced teas and coffees. Increasingly Coca-Cola has found that its sheer size works against it. Competition authorities now watch the company's every move, effectively ruling out the acquisition of anything other than marginal products; and market saturation, economic downturns in both emerging and mature markets and health concerns caused sales growth to stall for more than a decade. Since 2006, though, the company's performance has begun to fizz once again, mainly through aggressive development of non-cola products, including bottled water.
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The Adbrands Company Profile of Coca-Cola summarises the brand's history and current market position.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: There's a dispute brewing between Coca-Cola Company and the energy drinks marketer Monster in which it acquired a minority stake in 2014. At the time of that deal, Coke transferred control of all its existing energy drinks, such as NOS, Relentless and Burn, to its new partner, while at the same time taking over distribution duties for the Monster portfolio. Their agreement prohibited Coke from launching any new energy products outside the Monster partnership, but with one significant loophole. That restriction didn't apply to drinks carrying the Coca-Cola brandname. Now Coke wants to launch two new caffeine and guarana-enriched drinks of its own under the name Coca-Cola Energy. Monster's CEO Rodney Sacks is seeking legal arbitration. Both sides insist the dispute is amicable. "We've agreed to go to arbitration civilly and determine what course of action is appropriate," said Monster CFO Hilton Schlosberg.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: Coca-Cola made some changes to its senior management team. Brian Smith - previously head of the company's EMEA region - was named as group president & COO, becoming the #2 leader under CEO James Quincey. Nikos Koumettis moves up to fill the EMEA position. There's also a change in the CFO position: Kathy Waller will retire in 2019, to be succeeded by John Murphy, who will himself be replaced as regional president for Asia by Manuel Arroyo.
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Sep 2018: There's a surprising new entrant in the global coffee retail business: Coca-Cola. In a deal that few observers had expected, Coke announced the acquisition of Costa Coffee, the world's third largest coffee retail business overall after Starbucks and McDonald's, but #1 in Europe. At $5.1bn, it will be Coke's biggest ever purchase, and its first move into direct-to-consumer retail. It is also a clear attempt to fend off potential competition from Europe-based investment group JAB Holding, which not only owns the world's most diversified packaged coffee business as well as several retail coffee bar and sandwich chains, but recently completed the takeover of Coke's soft drinks competitor Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Another rival Nestle owns not only the giant Nescafe and Nespresso coffee brands - and now the packaged Starbucks coffee brand as well - but is also a major competitor in soft drinks, primarily through its global bottled water operations. There are several key advantages to the Costa deal: that brand is already the biggest coffee bar chain in the EMEA region, slightly ahead of Starbucks by outlets. It also has an extensive global network of standalone self-serve vending machines located in service stations and grocery stores. In addition, said Coke CEO James Quincey, the deal provides an entry into the hot beverages sector. "Coffee is one of the fastest-growing beverage categories in the world," he told analysts. "It's also a category with many different elements, from vending to coffee shops to roast-and-ground to instant to pods and capsules. Costa is a platform with a great supply chain in coffee, a world-class roastery, a strong retail presence and a vending system... It also has potential for expansion into ready-to-drink coffee across many markets globally." The business is being acquired from hospitality group Whitbread, which had previously announced plans to spin off Costa as a separate company. Following completion, Whitbread's biggest remaining asset will be the budget hotel chain Premier Inn. Analysts predict that a takeover bid could follow from a larger hotel operator, such as InterContinental or Hilton.
Adbrands Social Media 30th May 2018: Famously, Coca-Cola this week launched its first ever alcoholic beverage in Japan. New Lemon-do is a chu-hi, the Japanese equivalent to so-called 'alcopops' sold in Western markets like Mike's Hard Lemonade or Hooch. Lemon-do is being tested in Southern Japan in three different versions with 3%, 5% and 7% alcohol by volume, presumably to see which one Japanese customers favour. Here's the launch ad: there are no subtitles or credits, but the gist of the ad is that the female customer is surprised to discover that the cocktail being made for her by her handsome bartender - played by local star Hiroshi Abe - contains the pulp of a whole lemon. It's the little things that count, obviously.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Mar 2018: Coca-Cola is to launch its first-ever alcoholic beverage in Japan, named Lemon-do, as a tentative step into the popular "chu-hi" market. Chu-hi are the local version of what Western markets know as "alcopops", sweetened often brightly coloured canned or bottled beverages with an alcohol content similar to beer, usually targeting female drinkers. They are usually made from sho-chu, a local distilled spirit, mixed with sparkling water. "We haven't experimented in the low-alcohol category before," said Jorge Garduno, president of Coca-Cola Japan, "but it's an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas." He said that an international roll-out of this or any other alcoholic beverages was unlikely.
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