Dollars and Jens
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Charlie Bell
The CEO of McDonald's resigned in November, after only a half year on the job, to fight colo-rectal cancer. He died on Monday. In today's Wall Street Journal, there's a full-page ad in memoriam — paid for by Coke.

I thought that was nice. But does it enhance shareholder value? PR isn't my field, but it is often said that Coke is a marketing company, and I'm sure habit and image are big reasons they're able to get the margins they get (though I've tasted enough generic soft drinks to suppose that Coke's trade secrets are worth something). If other people had sentimental visceral reactions, the ad might pay for itself, especially if that reaction is shared by people who have the authority to decide what soft drinks to sell at McDonald's.

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