You may have heard the Coke ads claiming their love for polar bears recently, and how they are generously offering to donate $2 million over 5 years to the WWF Arctic Home Project. That’s a whopping $400,000 a year; enough to buy half an average home in Toronto. It’s true they have some history with the polar bear; those massive killing machines have been “used to represent joy” in their holiday campaigns since 1993. It got me thinking about what this really means to a multi-billion dollar company like Coke. So, I looked up a bunch of facts and figures and re-worked them for fun. I know, I need to get a better hobby.
The Coke website states that 1.7 billion servings are consumed per day worldwide. That equals 620,500,000,000, which I think is 620 billion servings per year, which makes me feel a bit sick. $400,000 divided by 620 billion equals $0.000000644641418 donated per serving, per year. How spoilt those bears will be. If that were a sliver of a pie chart the size of the world it would be as thick as my finger. I just made that up, but you get the idea! According to Wikinvest, in 2012 Coca Cola earned a net profit (profit after all expenses) of $452 million. Surely they could do better than half an average house in Toronto.
Coke has a range of over 3,500 beverages according to Business Insider. That’s a gargantuan donation of $114 from each product per year.
Each can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar per serving. The average American consumes 10.8 pounds of sugar per year just from Coke, and Mexicans are even worse! So worldwide we have our 620 billion servings per year. Multiplying that by 39 grams, equals 241.8 million kilograms, or 533.1 million lbs of sugar per year. The average polar bear weighs about 400kg (adult male 350–700 kg while adult female is about half that size). That means the world consumes 604,500 sugary polar bears each year. Hey why doesn’t Coke just build a new Arctic made of sugar for the bears?
Coke use 300,000 tons of aluminium in their cans each year; that’s over 17% of the US aluminium production industry. I have no idea what Coke’s carbon footprint is, but I’m guessing their ‘donation’ doesn’t go that far to offset it.
The point of all this is, well, do you think Coke really gives a flying crap about polar bears? Of course they don’t, and it’s laughable to think so. All they really care about is profit. Including the polar bear campaign, Coke spends around 2.9 billion in advertising a year. I don’t believe this campaign is about saving polar bears, I believe it’s about brand building and buying your loyalty. It’s about making you think they care about the environment. Also, look out for their new ads showing how Coke can fit into a healthy lifestyle, because they really care about you too. Have a Diet Coke full of Aspartame, one of the most dangerous food additives out there, sure they care. While you’re at it, why don’t you give it to your baby bear cubs like they do in their ads.