CocaCola Sees Red In India

CocaCola Sees Red In India

A hoarding put up in the southern city of Chennai by well known photographer Sharad Haksar has Coca Cola officials seeing red. The photo depicts a set of plastic pots...

Guy Brighton
  • 18 july 2005

A hoarding put up in the southern city of Chennai by well known photographer Sharad Haksar has Coca Cola officials seeing red.

The photo depicts a set of plastic pots next to a dry handpump – an allusion to the chronic water shortage in the city. The scene is set against a red wall bearing the painted logo of "Coca
Cola". News website reports:

On July 11, 2005, the law firm Daniel & Gladys, who
represent Coca-Cola’s Indian subsidiary, sent a letter to Haksar 
threatening him with legal action if the billboard was not replaced
‘unconditionally and immediately’.

The letter said Coca-Cola
would seek Rs 2 million for ‘incalculable damage to the goodwill and
reputation’ of the brand if Haksar did not comply with the

Incidenatally, Coke is a client of Haksar and
the photographer says he  had shown the picture to company officials 3
months ago, at which time no one objected to it. The company’s stance could have something to do
with the fact that it has been accused of contaminating ground water in the
neighbouring state of Kerala (an anti-Coke agitation has been going on there for
some time now).

However, few consumers connected the dry water pump
with the groundwater issue. Many thought it was merely one of those ‘special
extra creative ads’ which are often made with advertising awards shows in

Says one such consumer commenting on the popular
Chennai blog "I’ve passed this hoarding a million times on
Nungambakkam High Road and have been under the impression all this while that it
was a Coke ad that used one of Sharad Haskar’s photographs!!!"

Incidentally, the ad is part of a ‘social
awareness juxtaposed against multinational advertising’ series. The previous
hoarding depicted a kid pee-ing on a wall,
which bore the legend "Just do it" .

The question is, when a brand and it’s slogan
becomes part of the popular culture, how far can it – or should it – be
‘protected’. Isn’t the use or even the subversion of these symbols by
artists more a tribute to how much a part of life these brands have

Contributed by Rashmi Bansal


Volvo's Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

Automotive Yesterday

Toyota Is Using Sewage To Power Its New Electric Car

A new hydrogen-fueled vehicle is driven by what we flush away

Culture Yesterday

Catch A Concert On This Small Floating Island

A man-made archipelago in Italy is hosting music and art performances


Get PSFK's Related Report: Innovation Debrief: Boston

See All
Design & Architecture Yesterday

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Woodenwidget says its detailed guides are suitable for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike

Related Expert

Margot Langsdorf

Location Based Loyalty Shopping

Design Yesterday

Crash-Friendly Drone Made From LEGOs Is Completely Rebuildable

The clever device offers games, education and the uniquely rewarding experience of destroying your high-flying airship

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Free Sneakers Given Out To Motivated Marathon Runners

Strava will give the shoes to athletes who run the second half of their race faster than the first

Culture Yesterday

Someone Invented A Robot Just To Serve Trays Of Beef Jerky

Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, in partnership with Chef's Cut Real Jerky, creates an automated snack delivery system


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Millennials Yesterday

Why A Social Networking Site Decided To Rebrand

Meetup, a platform that connects like-minded individuals, has taken steps to stay relevant amongst millennials

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The People-First Workplace Should Borrow From Tradition

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX underline the old-fashioned ideas that deserve a place in the Future of Work

Op-Ed Yesterday

Digital Design Expert: Mobile First Is Dead, Think Mobile Native

Brian Cooper, chief creative officer of OLIVER Group UK, explains how some brands are still playing catch-up to new technology

Fashion Yesterday

Handbags Crafted From An Old NFL Stadium

People for Urban Progress is an up-cycling program that tackles the waste problem of big demolitions

Work Yesterday

Tech Job Site Created Just For Those Who Are Older Than 30

A new occupational job board presents a creative solution to age discrimination in the tech world


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Europe Yesterday

Architect Turns A Giant Smile Into A Public Exhibition

The structure offers visitors a new perspective of London and creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light

Children Yesterday

Norwegian Kids Are Using Their Phones To Log Unsafe Street Conditions

Travel Agent is an app that gamifies the reporting of hazardous conditions to improve the safety of children's commute to school

Travel Yesterday

Google Wants To Help You Plan Your Next Trip

A new app curates vacation itineraries and organizes reservation emails to take the work out of planning a getaway

No search results found.