World Of Coca-Cola

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God help the poor waitress that asks me “Can I start you off with something to drink?”  If she proceeds to tick off a list of Pepsi products – I’m always compelled to explain why Coke is so much better and why I’d rather just order a glass of ice cubes than be forced to drink Pepsi.   One can hardly blame her at this point for spitting in whatever drink I wind up ordering.  But when it comes to the choice of soda, pop or however your part of the world describes it – it’s serious business!

When I feel like a soda, a nice cold Coca-Cola just hits the spot.  I don’t mind making that known either.  I’ve always preferred Coke.   So, it was certainly a blast getting to visit the World Of Coca-Cola in Atlanta and discover a bit more about why Coke tops the beverage market.

For starters, can you name a single company that’s done a better job of branding their product?  Forbes says Coca-Cola is only behind Apple and Microsoft in terms of global brand value.  The lists and rankings are always changing, but Coca-Cola is always near the top.  They brilliantly remind us that a can, glass or bottle of Coke should make you feel happy and bring back great memories. This has been a winning strategy for decades.

And the stuff.  Oh my, the stuff.  Touring the World of Coca-Cola, it was fascinating to see just how many items the company (and others) have slapped a Coca-Cola logo on.  From pajama pants to tooth pick containers – you can find a Coca-Cola logo on pretty much everything except for maybe toilet paper.

The entire experience reminded me of the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.   It’s very well done – lots of interactive pieces, very colorful and even quite high tech for a place that’s main subject is well, a beverage.

Your experience begins with a short film that really has nothing to do with Coca Cola at all.  I liked this part.  Mainly because I can’t sit still and find myself bored with films at museums – especially ones that go on and on when all you want to do is get out there and explore!   The film you watch at the start of your tour is called Moments Of Happiness and it is superb!  It follows several story lines with almost zero dialogue if I remember correctly.  You just watch and follow along.  It brought me to tears at one point – it was just so touching and heartfelt.  Not sad, not cheesy – just happy.  I’m guessing that was by design.  After all, isn’t that what Coke has been pitching since the beginning?

This is definitely a family experience.  Kids will love this place and adults will be entertained as well.  From standing next to the vault with the secret formula or reading about all of the silly myths and legends surrounding the brand. (No, Coke never had cocaine in it.)  The tasting center before you exit the building is pretty interesting.  You can mix flavors or just try out beverages that are available in other parts of the world.   My favorite one wound up being an Apple soda found only in China.  You could probably stay in there the entire day test-tasting different flavors.  Guess there’s a reason the tasting room doesn’t have chairs.

As a nice gesture, as you exit – they hand you a complimentary bottle of Coke, pulled right off the assembly line!

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Bill is a travel journalist, broadcaster and freelance writer based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Bill travels all across the country doing positive stories, highlighting people and places making America great. He's the host of the weekly Rediscover America podcast and author of the new book 100 Things To Do In America Before You Die! Bill enjoys parks, talking to strangers, eating medium-rare steaks, playing Pickleball and telling good jokes.