Monday, 22 September 2014

¡refrescante! or double-blind trial

While the usual battle-fields for the Cola Wars are found in public institutions, school cafeterias and workplace cantinas, the competition can involve sometimes much more than just syrup and air-canisters with a whole franchised realm, a vertical monopoly of loyal patrons behind the brand who would never dare sell the competing product.

There, however, is precious little more serious than one’s immortal soul—which are the stakes for tribe in Mexico, who’ve incorporated either one or the other big cola brands into their religious traditions. Convinced that belching helps to release evil spirits, members of the community are willing to pay 50¢ for a bottle of soda—which does not sound bad until one realises that that’s a day’s wage, to augment their purification rituals. Aside from the faithful forgoing food to support the marketing and distribution rivalry between billion-dollar multi-national corporations, there are also the matters of health, fair-labour and responsible water-usage at stake. Realising that they are the momentary playthings of globalism, some communities in Chiapas have boycotted the soft-drinks altogether—though both companies are pretty ruthless about re-establishing market-control.