Coca-Cola has a rocky corporate social responsibility (CSR) history. In the past, Coca-Cola has been criticized for its negative impact on the environmental (e.g., pesticide contamination, water use, and packaging). In response to the negative publicity, Coca-Cola has spearheaded various CSR sustainability initiatives. See the company’s website showcasing some of the great sustainability work being done.
Recently, Coca-Cola developed new CSR initiatives that are significantly different from the company’s previous sustainability-focused CSR work. For example, in 2015 the company launched a Superbowl advertisement (see video below) aimed at combatting cyberbullying. This is just one example of the way that Coca-Cola has adapted its CSR strategy to focus on current issues.
This advertisement is part of Coca-Cola’s #MakeItHappy campaign. According to the company, the aim of this campaign is to create a “…movement to add more happiness to the Web and offset negativity.” NPR notes that this campaign has been extremely successful by portraying Coke as the corporate leader in criticism of internet negativity. Coca-Cola establishes a platform for people to speak out against cyber-bullying.
This case study showcases the need for companies to adapt their CSR programs based on current trends. In this example, Coca-Cola proved its ability to:
- Create a CSR program to be able to successfully change the public’s impression of its environmental impact
- Maintain an innovative CSR strategy that reflects current issues impacting the public