Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


Welcome to Coca-Colonialism.

This is the process by which a giant multinational decides it's not quite enough to teach the world to sing.

Better still is teaching them to drink Coke and be grateful to pretty white people.

This, at least, is how many people interpreted a Coca-Cola Christmas ad that ran in Mexico.

It depicts many pretty young (light-skinned) things traveling to Totontepec Villa De Morelos, a remote village in the southern state of Oaxaca, in order to bring them Coke bottles and help them build a wooden Christmas tree.

Naturally, the wooden Christmas tree is red, the flag (cir color of the Coca-Colonials.

The ad claims that 81.6 percent of indigenous people feel ostracized because they don't speak Spanish. It's not clear where that statistic came from.

But is the only alternative to take on the habits of the posher parts of Atlanta, Georgia (circa 1974)?

The motto of the ad is "Open Your Heart," which some viewers found a touch ironic, given the rather uniform nature of Coke's saintly little helpers.

Naturally, activists got involved -- and even ran a video describing the increase in Type-2 diabetes among indigenous people. Coke pulled the ad, accompanying it with the requisite message that it didn't mean to offend anyone at all.

The ad was made to bring people together and "to break down prejudice and share", Coke said.

Did no one, though, among the no-doubt large group who had to approve this oeuvre share the idea that this was a little like the British arriving in India and suggesting everyone should now speak without moving their lips?

Setting yourself up as a savior is a great temptation for brands.

See? Your life is truly lacking. With our brand, it'll be SO much happier!

But despite the impression sometimes given by many products, fashion models and happy faces can't solve all the world's problems.

How different it might have been for Coke if there had been no pretty invaders, no iconic bottles and no sense of Coca-Colonialism.

What if Coke had just done an ad highlighting the issue and simply putting a Coca-Cola logo at the end? 

Radical, I know.