Counter-Cola: A Multinational History of the Global Corporation

Cultural Critique in the US

From the mid-1960s a growing critique of corporations was expressed by cultural producers through the almost globally ubiquitous commodity-sign of Coca-Cola.[i] The final lines of Gil Scott-Heron’s spoken word poem, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” demonstrate the critique of the racial and economic politics of American mediated culture and consumer society, of which Coca-Cola and its jingles had made themselves iconic.[ii]

Pop artists, especially Andy Warhol, had already used Coca-Cola as a sign of mass culture in his numerous prints exploring the vast reproducibility of the commodity, and his screen test films, which paired countercultural icons like Lou Reed with the everyday mass commodity. In iconic movies of the time, Coca-Cola was used as a symbol of corporate power and the massification of culture, often ending badly for the Cokes – Coca-Cola vending machines were shot at in Dr. Strangelove and blown up in the Monkees’ Head

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