Monday, 13 July 2015

Coca-Cola fighting prejudice by removing logo in the Middle East for Ramadan

Coca-Cola has long been known for their fantastic use of marketing to connect with their audience. Earlier this week saw one of the best campaigns I can remember from them in a very long time. Coke cans in the Middle East have been stripped of the famous Coca-Cola logo. This will run throughout the holy festival of Ramadan, which is observed by Muslims worldwide.

The new blank cans still have Coca-Cola’s iconic colouring, but with all references to the brand name being removed. On the other side it simply reads, “Labels are for cans, not for people”.  This strong and powerful statement from Coke is encouraging people not to judge each other based on their appearance.

Alongside the visual changes to the can, Coca-Cola has also created a short online film that has already had over 46 million views since it was uploaded last week. It begins with a group of six strangers who have been invited for a dinner. But this is no ordinary dinner party, as the strangers will have to get to know each other in the dark. After spending time getting to know one another and chatting about the things they have in common, the lights are finally switched on for the big reveal.

The striking thing about this advertisement is the diversity of the all male group of Middle Eastern men which contains men in traditional Arab dress, a man in a business suit, another man in a wheelchair and a man with facial tattoos. The group were at first shocked but had learnt that they had seen each other in another light. 

Afterwards the group is asked to pull out the Coke can from under their chairs that reads, “Labels are for cans”.


The advertisement carries a very strong message that we should not judge others based on their looks before getting to know them. Shortly after the film launched, Coca-Cola released a statement saying, “In a time when equality and abolishing prejudices is a hot topic for discussion around the world, how does one of the leading brands like Coca-Cola join in the conversation? In the Middle East, during the month of Ramadan, one of the world’s most well known labels has removed its own label, off its cans, in an effort to promote a world without labels and prejudices.”

I believe this very bold and brave advertising by Coca-Cola will win them a lot of fans regardless of their religion. It reminds us of a very important moral, but also highlights that large corporations too need a moral conscious. By boldly standing behind these values Coca-Cola, has made itself stand out. The goal of the advert is promote open-mindedness and tolerance, but will no doubt win support for its product.


Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where the tradition of fasting is commonplace. The ending of Ramadan is celebrated with the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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