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The world's most recognizable brand needs a proofreader

NOTE: INKISH is prepping a new section called ANSWERS. To start we will be focusing on the web-to-print space. One important segment of this technology is brand management. Some providers are dedicated solely to this service. While it may not have prevented the error this article addresses, the brand management tools available go a long way to preventing most of the common mistakes made when brand content is deployed.

Coca-Cola, the world’s most recognizable brand, is diligent in protecting their brand integrity. The company spends millions each year maintaining the brand—from the type font to the Coke Red color to the shape of the bottle.   So, it is ironic that when boasting on their website about that iconic bottle shape, the company historians referenced another global brand, incorrectly identified a third global brand and basically failed, on an epic level, as brand custodians.

Coke bottle sketch

On the official company site, the iconic bottle’s story heads the Coke history section. The text states:                                

 “When Andy Warhol wanted a shape to represent mass culture, he drew the bottle and when Volkswagen wanted to celebrate the shape of the Beatle, they compared the car to the bottle.”

Okay, no problem with Andy Warhol reference. But Volkswagen (a global brand in the transportation world) did not name a car after John, Paul, George and Ringo’s band, The Beatles (a global brand in the music world). Spelling counts. Research matters. Popular culture is where brands live. From Times Square in Manhattan to a village in Burundi, Coca-Cola is instantly recognized by more people in the world than any other brand. Coca-Cola correctly protects their brand and indeed sets precedent on the importance of brand integrity.

Village in Burundi Angela Parlane

It is important that seemingly small errors as described here be avoided at all costs. When you are big, your mistakes are big. When you are small, your mistakes can hurt you badly. For smaller brands, especially those just starting to make themselves known, missteps like this often are next to impossible to overcome. Coca-Cola will not suffer from this error; it will be just fine. New brands? Personal brand? Just don’t aim for this level of mistaken identity. Hire a proofreader who knows how to use the Google machine.

INKISH reached out to the Coca-Cola media department but has not heard back upon publication of this article.

And for the future brand stewards at Coca-Cola, INKISH offers this helpful infographic:

Infographic on types of beetles and bottles
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