How to Miss a Massive Opportunity by Coca Cola

Last week, Coca Cola pledged to continue using single-use plastic bottles because ‘consumers still want them,’ according to a report on the BBC.

Coke is committing to recycling, but environmentalists are now united in their view that recycling is too little too late and production must simply stop.

What NOT To Do

This is a classic case of a missed opportunity. Coke consumers want something lightweight and re-sealable; they argue. Well, why not give them something new that is both things and NOT plastic? All it would have taken was a bit of creative thinking, a smattering of forward thought.

By jumping onto the bandwagon now and committing to developing a less polluting solution, Coke could become global leaders in consumable packaging. Instead, their approach is to keep on doing what they have always done until someone else comes up with a solution. Then they will play catch up. Or most likely: be left behind.

This is the classic big corporate mistake: your consumers or not all-knowing, and neither are they always right. As a giant citizen of the world, Coke should be being a better parent-figure here.

How much would it cost them to investigate viable alternatives? They have massive global resources. A win here could put their rivals to bed forever.

And yet…


People still want plastic. (apparently)

It is poor business, poor leadership and bad economics and even worse marketing. Shame on you Coke. You’re not as smart as you’d like people to think!

What They Should Have Done

  • Stopped assuming they knew better
  • Admitted there may be other options
  • Made yourselves open to suggestions
  • Experimented
  • Asked their staff to make suggestions