The world of advertising always seems to amaze me. At first it seems so simple-big name labels look at the statistics and figure out who their target audience is and then they begin their campaign. In this case for soda companies, African Americans annually bring in $1.26 billion to $8 billion alone. What really captivates me is the creativity of marketing. Besides just inserting a few Coke and Sprite ads here and there in a magazine or up on a billboard in hopes that people, specifically blacks, will see them, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. actually takes its products to its consumers. What the company considers is that some of its target audience may not access magazines frequently or have billboards in the area. In “Urban Warfare” Team Classic, representing Coca-Cola Bottling Co., went to Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods where the majority of the residents were African Americans. I completely agree with MacArthur and Chura when they stated that a product takes on a different feel when it comes with a street theme. The monster corporation out to strip your wallet is nowhere in site, and instead, you can enjoy a refreshing and thirst-quenching Coke or Sprite coming out of a van blasting music.
However, there’s more to the method than distributing free soda. In order to gain respect and to appeal to the target audience, African Americans between the ages of 12 and 24 years old, Coca-Cola Bottling Co.’s advertisers take on the hip-hop lifestyle that is easily relatable and enjoyed by most blacks. So instead of just a van pulling up dishing out free soda, the car is decorated with recognizable name brands, murals of landmarks of the city, and “mirror-shaking hip-hop music” thumping out of the full sound-system hooked up in the back. Besides the van, the promoters too have to embody this image by wearing familiar name brands.
Advertising is right behind our constantly changing society, always updating its techniques to fit our lifestyles and giving its products, which usually have been around years, a new modern twist. I was really impressed with Mr. Jackson and his philosophy on marketing. He said that for someone to sell a product, one needs to understand where the consumer is coming from- Mr. Jackson spoke in street dialects to possible customers, gaining their trust immediately. A company is also truly successful when it has onboard such loyal advocates, such as Mr. Jackson, who only drinks Coke and Sprite and has even fired employees for drinking Pepsi!
What I found an interesting concept to grasp, in relation to Kalle Lasn’s article “The Cult You’re In, was that consumers need someone to tell them that something is “cool”. I believe it’s a conscious effort when people actually purchase the product on their own, in contrast to Lasn’s thinking that it’s an unconscious effort, but it’s companies’ ways in advertising and marketing that give birth to that idea of “cool”. Why else would we buy certain products and clothing if we didn’t hear or see about it first? When Coca-Cola Bottling Co. rolls down the street in a red and green van blasting hip-hop music handing out ice-cold Cokes and Sprites (for free!), who wouldn’t associate that with “cool”? It has been tested and proven true that what appeals to African Americans is hop-hop culture, so why not enforce that in poor neighborhoods where you know the residents won’t be attending fundraising banquets and the works? Even when you don’t think you’re being influenced by a product, all you have to do is look to the results when after walking out of a store, you have a little more baggage in your hands and a little less money in your wallet.