Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Schlitz and Coca-Cola

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Schlitz and Coca-Cola

Schlitz and Coca-Cola
“It is too little to say that the sun never sets on Schlitz agencies, for it is literally true that it is always noonday at one of them.”
Schlitz is only a name now. It no longer carries any weight in the beer industry. We can only say it was an important brand name for beers and was an important part of American life.
Actually, the advertisement of Schlitz reminds me something lasting longer than that—Coke.
For the Coke Company, it is always good to make their product bond to the WASP civilization. If Schlitz claimed to be the advocate of the western civilization, Coke would like to be the speak person of the White Anglo Saxon Protestant Capitalist Civilization.
People always like to put themselves into different categories. Western or Oriental does not mean much today, instead, people are more than willing to describe them as People of the Free World or People under the Communist Totalitarian Control. This does not mean much for normal people, but it really means a lot for business people and politicians.

If everyone believes that no matter how free-market China or Russia can be, they are still by any means different from Americans and the formal Western civilization, it will be funny to look at the history of the East and West Germany.

I would like to recommend a movie here covering the changes happened in Berlin from 1989 to 1991. Hope you like it.
In the movie Good Bye-Lenin, Coke was taken as the symbol of the western capitalism civilization. When the Berlin Wall collapsed, it was not the massive immigrants surged into West Germany; it was the lines of Trucks full of Coca-Cola, which stood for the communication between the east and the west.
It is interesting to see the Movie, to have that kind of feeling that the society suddenly changed. In addition, all the political posters became the advertisements of Coca-Cola.

There is a free Trailer on-line.
Hope it can give you a general idea about the change.
(Personally, I believe it is a blessing to be innocent like the Mother in the movie )
Please see for more information about this movie.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very interesting comparison. I will have to check out this film. Coca Cola has an iconic status. It is a potent symbol of American culture and commerce. Symbolism is the language of mass persuasion. Mass consumption of consumer goods is also identified with a standard of living that is envied the world over. Americanism is often defined as a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption. Coca Cola is an imporatant symbol of that American lifestyle that our media are spreading to the four corners of the earth.

2/16/2006 12:22 AM  

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