All posts from Drew
Drew in Just my thoughts,

Is It Good Business to Profit Off of Tragedy?

Coca Cola (NYSE: KO) made headlines by coordinating the delivery of 130,000 bottles of water to those affected by the flooding in South Carolina. While it is a generous gesture on the surface, the cynic in me doesn't have to look hard to see an ulterior motive.

130,000 bottles of branded water is, excuse the horrible pun, a drop in the bucket for Coke, financially. They are not committing any real resources to this effort. If they wanted to help out in a meaningful way, they would put their heft into recovery, restoration and first aid services. They are a huge corporation that can have a big impact anywhere they direct their resources. Giving a few bottles of water, and making sure every media outlet knows what you are doing, does not strike me as the grand gesture it’s being made out to be.

It’s hard to say whether advertising moves like this will boost its bottom line, but if there is anyone else out there like me, this might leave a bad taste in their mouth. Which, ironically, is exactly what Dasani will do. It’s less filtered tap water that taste like it came out of one of those streams in China that will mysteriously turn orange. 

I know that Coke is doing a whole lot more to help those victims than I ever will, but I don’t have billions of dollars. I’d like to think that if I did, and I decided to help someone, I wouldn’t try to profit off of it. Stunts like this could ultimately have a negative effect on consumer sentiment and shift buying habits, though it doesn't seem like that’s happening in the near future.