Recipe for disaster

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The Independent Online

When John Pemberton went out into his back yard in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886 and began mixing up a strange caramel-coloured syrup in a three-legged brass kettle, little did he know that he was producing the elixir of modern times. Coca-Cola went global when Ronald McDonald was still flipping burgers for California cook-outs. It is ubiquitous.

Have you ever wondered why Father Christmas wears red? You can thank a 1931 ad campaign when Coke executives decided to recreate Saint Nick as a secular bon vivant. And now they want to spice up the famous non-alcoholic beverage by introducing a vanilla flavour cola. What are they playing at down at Coca-Cola HQ? Have they never heard that old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Especially when they've actually tried to fix it before, and failed.

There was Cherry Coke in 1985, from which your taste buds might still be recovering. Then there was the disastrous "New Coke", which took the fizz out of the company for a while. So what are the suits of the Coca-Cola company thinking in diluting the appeal of the world's favourite refreshment? Perhaps they should bear in mind their old slogan: "You can't beat the real thing."