Secret Formula: How Brilliant Marketing and Relentless Salesmanship Made Coca-Cola the Best-known Product in the World

HarperBusiness, 1994 - 500 páginas
Since its bubbly debut in an Atlanta soda fountain more than a century ago, Coca-Cola has grown into a global enterprise whose trademark is the most familiar - and inescapable - commercial symbol in the world. Pioneering the art of the soft sell, Coke's advertising has stamped an indelible imprint on our popular culture, from the "pause that refreshes" to the modern image of Santa Claus. The simple script label, unchanged since the Victorian era, has become virtually synonymous with America. A hugely profitable fifty-billion-dollar corporation with sales in 195 countries, Coca-Cola has enriched its shareholders, created countless millionaires around the South, and transformed its home base, Atlanta, into a world-class city, chosen as host of the 1996 Summer Olympics. As it expands into the rapidly growing markets of the Third World, especially the billion-plus consumers in developing China, the company approaches the year 2000 poised to surpass what has come so far. In Secret Formula award-winning reporter Frederick Allen peels away the layers of myth about Coca-Cola and goes inside the executive suite to write the biography of a business. Granted unprecedented access to the company's archives - and to the inner circle and private papers of Robert Woodruff, the reclusive autocrat who ran the company with an iron hand from the 1920s to the 1980s - Allen relates the engaging and provocative narrative behind the world's most famous product. From the untold story of founder Asa Candler's unsuccessful struggle to get the cocaine out of Coca-Cola, to the inside account of the "brilliant blunder" of New Coke, Secret Formula provides fresh information and insights about the activities of thepeople who invented Coca-Cola's mystique. Allen reveals how the company survived challenges from the federal government, foreign powers, and the medical establishment; endured the Great Depression, wartime shortages, inflation, and even dangerous insider trading by its own executives; followed American GIs into battle; played a vital, unsung role in the civil rights movement; and, in the long run, always stayed ahead of the competition. The history of Coca-Cola is a tale of dynasties, a poignant account of the turbulent clashes between a pair of fathers and sons whose private lives shaped the destiny of the most public company in the world. It is also a microcosm of the history of America and American business over the past century. Engagingly readable and compelling, Secret Formula will stand as the definitive account of one of the world's great success stories.

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