Counter-Cola: A Multinational History of the Global Corporation

Life as It Should Be

            At the beginning of the millennium, Coca-Cola’s new advertising campaigns attempted to “glocalize” the global brand image to the local Indian context, as advertising executives liked to call this process.  This was a departure from the Company’s standardized global advertising with its iconic but distant appeal to assumed universals, declaring it was “Always Coca-Cola” everywhere in the world.[1]   Instead, The slick “Life Ho To Aisi” campaign, meaning “Life As It Should Be” in evocative Hinglish,  attempted a localization while still communicating the universal neoliberal promise of freedom and individual self-betterment by placing Coca-Cola in the hands of Aishwarya Rai in India’s modernized global cities and the lives of its aspiring consumer world citizens. The ads engaged the urban middle class with a celebration of both Coca-Cola and their consumptive opportunity to buy into the global “good life”  -- life as it should be -- in the new free marketplace of global brands within India.[2]
            But to grow profits more dramatically, the company sought to connect deeply with “Indianness” and a broader swath of the Indian population by “speak[ing] the…language” of the “rural masses as well as the lower socio economic classes,”[3] who comprised the majority of the nation, but with little disposable income were still infrequent consumers of the company’s products, but represented a kind of authentic Indianness to the consumer classes.  Because, in India, as advertising creatives explained, “refreshment was real, earthy and unaffected by global trends,” and Coca-Cola wanted to be seen as a central part of it.[4]  
[1] For more on changes to the advertising strategies of multinationals and efforts to localize products through locally-produced advertising campaigns, see William O'Barr, Marcio Moreira, and Shelly Lazarus, "Global Advertising," Advertising & Society Review 9 (2008) and William Mazzarella, Shoveling Smoke:  Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India (Durham, NC, 2003).
[2] Boby Kurian, “Coca-Cola May Dump Life ho to aisi Campaign,” The Hindu Business Line, December 19, 2002,, Jennifer Kaye, "Coca-Cola India," (Hanover, N.H., 2004), 6.
[3] “Thanda Matlab Solitary EFFIE Gold: EFFIE Awards 2003,”, August 22 2003,
[4] Ibid.

This page has paths:

This page references: