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Coca-Cola's Learning Experience in Advertising

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In a series of advertisements directed at Italian vacationers, the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, and the Tower of Pisa were turned into the familiar Coca-Cola bottle. However, when the white marble columns in the Parthenon that crowns Athens’s Acropolis were turned into Coca-Cola bottles, the Greeks were outraged. Greeks refer to the Acropolis as the “holy rock,” and a government official said the Parthenon is an “international symbol of excellence” and that “whoever insults the Parthenon insults international culture.” Coca-Cola apologized for the ad.

Companies can learn from this example, Cultural symbols are things that represent ideas and concepts. Symbols and symbolism play an important role in cross-cultural analysis because different cultures attach different meanings to things. By adroitly using cultural symbols, global marketers can tie positive symbolism to their products, services, and brands to enhance their attractiveness to consumers. However, improper use of symbols can spell disaster.

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YouSigma. (2008). "Coca-Cola's Learning Experience in Advertising." From

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