THE BLOG

Hey Coke, Fancy Saving the World?

06/08/2015 15:55 BST | Updated 04/08/2016 10:59 BST

As last week's alarming viral infographic about the toxic effects of Coca Cola proved, the brand is far from angelic.

But according to Good Things, an independent group of concerned citizens acting on behalf of the environment, it might have the power to save the world.

A bursting bubble

The Pope, in his latest encyclical, advised the need to combat climate change: 'Our earth, our only home, is starting to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.'

He's right to say our planet's future is not looking as bright as Orange would have us believe.

A report published by the WWF this year revealed that 11 of the world's most important forests are set for catastrophic deforestation by 2030. If nothing is done, we stand to lose up to 420 million acres of forest over the next 15 years.

So what can be done to help?

A fizz of hope

Good Things' Buy The World A Hope movement poses a suggestion: why don't we start by appealing to the biggest advertiser in history?

Their proposition is ambitious. In a public pitch that is currently making its way across social media channels, Buy The World A Hope is calling on Coke's global CEO - Muhtar Kent - to stall the brand's enormous 3 billion dollar advertising budget for one year, spending it instead on helping land trusts protect the world's rainforests.

Coke released its first global ad in 1971. I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke featured a group of stoned-looking teenagers singing a song of peace and togetherness on a hilltop. It was one of the most successful ads in history.

Buy The World A Hope aims to recreate that same feeling of unity and altruism, but this time for a real cause. Saving the planet.

'We want to take one of the biggest adverts in history and repurpose it for this generation,' says Gareth Broadbent, lead creative behind the Hope movement.

'If we could inspire Coca Cola to protect our rainforests, their 3 billion dollar budget could make an important and lasting contribution to combatting climate change.'

Refresh the planet

There are, of course, concerns about the implications of such a bold move.

From Coke's perspective, sacrificing advertising for a whole year may sound like brand suicide. There's also risk the move would be met with cynicism, or fail to pay off in the long term.

A concern for the public is that such an altruistic move may mislead consumers into thinking Coke is a nice, humanitarian brand. Do we want them basking in the glory of philanthropy when they've been poisoning mankind since 1892?

One thing that cannot be debated is the brand's power. Like it or lump it, sugar-laden Coke is one of the strongest influencers in the modern world, and the second most recognised word on earth after 'OK'. It's also the 84th biggest economy in the world, just ahead of Costa Rica.

There is seismic potential for change if they choose to act.

'For many of us, myself included, having corporations like Coke use their wallets to decide the future of the world is the dystopia we railed against,' says Suzie Webb from SMFB. 'But in the cold light of now we might think more of this: drastic times call for drastic measures. Or more precisely - whatever helps, let's do it now.'

'Coke's vision is to unite business and planet,' Broadbent affirms. 'The world has never needed to come together more than it does right now in the face of impending climate disasters. It's a perfect opportunity for the Coca Cola brand to reignite its old magic and connect again.'

If you want to get involved in this public pitch, show your support here.

You never know, Coke might just make it real.