Growing up with fairy tales is considered a hallmark of childhood. These magical narratives give children worlds of fantasy to explore with their imaginations and creativity. They also elevate the expectations of what the world has to offer.
As we grow up, some of these expectations get debunked. After all, no amount of singing will send woodland creatures scurrying towards you to do your chores. On the other hand, from a relationship standpoint, there are elements of the fairytale narrative that many adults seek.
There’s one fairy tale theme so iconic that it's transcended media and hits hard in our everyday lives: the idea of a happily ever after. Every story alludes to it as we watch a prince and princess ride off into the sunset, leaving us wondering what does happily ever after even looks like?
The first picture that may come to mind is the elderly couple swinging on their front porch hip-to-hip and hand-in-hand. The vows they made decades ago when they said 'I do' guided them through the highs and lows of life. No matter what came their way, there was nothing they couldn’t tackle so long as they were together. Unlike the fairy tales that leave us thinking relationships are always smooth sailing, this couple embodies how true love empowers two partners to stay connected through hardship.
In the organization-marketing relationship, happily ever after is more achievable than some may think, but achieving it means exposing the myth that everything will always go flawlessly. Just ask Coca-Cola, a brand that’s been around since May 1886 and has a history of creating marketing campaigns almost as famous as the drink itself. This organization-marketing relationship shows even the most successful marketing love stories face difficulties.
Today, when you think of the drink that is the fizzy delight known as Coke, it’s likely you think of their numerous iconic campaigns. The adorable polar bears from the Super Bowl advertisement—who wouldn’t love them? Or perhaps your mind goes to the share a Coke campaign. Or maybe you think of movie theaters, where no popcorn is complete without the notorious soft drink.
At first glance, Coca-Cola’s relationship with marketing may seem perfect, but everyone has a past. From being advertised as a drink that could cure headaches, hysteria, melancholy to the regular growing pains all brands experience, in its search for a happily ever after, Coke has had its share of troubles. However, none are as infamous as the day that will forever live in marketing infamy.
On April 23, 1985, The Coca-Cola Company announced the launch of “new coke.” This decision became known as one of the “most memorable marketing blunders ever” and sparked consumer outcry, unlike anyone could have predicted. From protest groups to songs and angry letters, it quickly became evident that Coke was more than a drink—it was a beloved beverage brand that no one, not even the company itself, was allowed to change. Just three months later, Coca-Cola pivoted and announced the return of classic Coke. The Coca-Cola Company worked with marketing instead of against her and bounced back stronger than ever.
Fairy tales may depict the alleged perfect love story, but Coke’s relationship with marketing exemplifies true love. Happily ever after with your partner doesn’t mean everything always goes according to plan, but it does mean you'll have someone by your side to make sure you make it to the rainbow at the end of the storm.
Even when you think she doesn’t, marketing always loves you. When you show her that love is a two-way street, your organization will grow to new heights. Before you know it, you’ll be swinging on your front yard of success with marketing right by your side.