While Budweiser is attempting to establish itself as the most American of all alcoholic beverages, Coca-Cola appears to be eyeing the same status in the soft drink market. The Atlanta-based company has unveiled some patriotic packaging in time for summer, and the new look is far from subtle.
Coca-Cola wants everyone to know drinking its product equates to being a proud American. So if you're caught sipping on a Pepsi this summer, that must mean you're not proud to be an American. But, the company is trying to push its new cans, plastered with that classic Lee Greenwood lyric, as more than a marketing gimmick. It's supporting the United Service Organizations' "Campaign to Connect" in order to let members of the United States military know their service is appreciated.
"Since the organization's very beginning in 1941, the USO has been near and dear to us," Erika von Heiland Strader, Coca-Cola North America director of community marketing, said in a prepared statement. "Our relationship is now part of our heritage, our DNA. The patriotic graphics on special 16-ounce cans and multiple club packs are a small way of saying thanks to the USO for all they do. On behalf of all our Coca-Cola associates, we congratulate the USO on 75 years of connecting service members to their family, home, and country."
While the sentiment is nice, the announcement doesn't mention any monetary support Coca-Cola might be offering. Instead, the company has set up a website where visitors can send messages to U.S. service members. Coke hopes its red-white-and-blue cans will inspire one million messages of appreciation.
The new cans will be available around the country through July 4. That allows for American sports fans to sip their patriotic beverages while watching United States athletes compete in the Copa America soccer tournament this month. Unfortunately, those participating in August's Rio Olympics will miss the boat.