6 Companies That Accidentally Backed Horrible Messages


Coca-Cola Keeps Accidentally Wading Into European Politics

Over the years, Coca-Cola has encouraged drinkers to “catch the wave,” “make it real,” and “open happiness.” Generic feel-good claptrap is one of their strong suits. Geopolitics? Not so much. In 2015, Coke ran a holiday-themed advertisement on a Russian social networking site that featured a snow-covered map of Russia, dotted with Christmas trees and gifts. Only the ad had one little problem: Crimea.

Coca-Cola“I told you getting your geography from a Risk board was a bad idea!”

Though part of Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula has been occupied by Russia since 2014. The map drew considerable ire from Ukrainians, who threatened to boycott the company. Coke was quick to point the finger, saying that an advertising agency modified the map without their permission, and that “We, as a company, don’t support any political movements.”

2015 was clearly a banner advertising year for Coke. The company was also forced to pull a Fanta ad that whitewashed certain parts of German history. The video was released for Fanta’s 75th anniversary, and revisited how the soft drink was created (as a substitute for Coke when syrup became scarce).

Coca-ColaLike Hugo Boss and the space program, you have Hitler to thank.

The ad claims that 75 years ago, Fanta was dreamt up because the German branch of Coca-Cola had a tricky time getting its hands on many of the drink’s ingredients. Plenty of viewers did the math and realized that said scarcity existed because of trade embargoes against Nazi Germany during World War II. Glossing over that part of history is bad enough on its own, but the ad goes on to say that they want to bring back “the feeling of the Good Old Times.” That is, the Third Reich. Coke quickly pulled the ad, which they insist was intended to “evoke positive childhood memories” and not endorse Nazis. The spokesperson added that while “Fanta was invented in Germany during the Second World War,” the brand has “no association with Hitler or the Nazi party.” After all, the first rule of marketing is to remind people that your product is only indirectly related to Hitler.

Coke and Jones are kind of a mess, so why not make your own with a Sodastream?

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For more, check out The 6 Most Unintentionally Offensive Publicity Campaigns and 6 Ill-Advised Marketing Campaigns That Backfired Hilariously.

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