The crescent moon and star — yes, the same symbol featured on the flags of so many Muslim countries — is an internationally-recognized symbol of the Islamic faith in much the same way as the cross represents Christianity and the star of David Judaism. When I learned the symbol of the Islamic faith will appear on Coca-Cola packaging during Ramadan 2008, I found myself wondering whether or not the Atlanta-based soft drink maker will soon include the Christian cross and Jewish star of David in future holiday packaging designs targeting people of those faiths.
The firm selected by Coca-Cola to help interpret its brand across a number of events is ATTIK, according to Brand Republic. Notable among those events are Ramadan, a Muslim religious observance that runs from Sept. 1-30, and Christmas 2008. [Note: I've found no evidence that the company plans to focus any efforts on Hanukkah or any other Jewish holiday.]
During Ramadan, the ATTIK design shown above will adorn packaging in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Tunisia and other countries with a great many Muslims.
With hopes of finding out whether the Christian cross — instead of the penguins, polar bears and snow of recent years — will grace Coca-Cola packaging for Christmas 2008, I sent an e-mail to Roger Darnell at the firm’s San Francisco office at 11:52 a.m. (Central) today. Six minutes later, he replied by telling me he had forwarded my inquiry to ATTIK’s marketing executive Vicky Hallam in the firm’s Leeds, England, office. Excluding the salutation, my e-mail was worded as follows:
I’m a freelance writer and am pursuing an article on using religious symbols on commercial product packaging. As I understand ATTIK.com was selected to design the 2008 Christmas packaging for Coca-Cola, I’m interested in learning whether or not Coca-Cola products distributed in predominantly-Christian countries will include Christian cross and Jewish star of David symbols in much the same manner as packaging of Coca-Cola products (which your firm designed) sold in predominantly-Muslim countries feature the crescent moon and star symbol representing Islam?
I sent a similar e-mail to Coca-Cola via their main web site’s “Contact Us” form, but truly doubt that I will receive a reply from either Coca-Cola or ATTIK during my lifetime. You see, I fully expect that Vicky in Leeds will feel obligated to forward my inquiry to the public relations folks in Atlanta. They, in turn, will opt to sit on the matter, hoping it will go away.
In either case, stay tuned as I will post an update(s) in this space if/when I receive a reply from either firm.
Hat tip: Adrants, an advertising industry blog.
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UPDATE 8/19/08, 1 p.m. Central: At 11:42 a.m. Central, I finally received a reply from from Coca-Cola in the form of this e-mail:
Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company. We appreciate your interest in our Company.
Contacts related to media and public relations typically go through that department. You may contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via their hotline at 404.676.2683.
Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company
I replied by repeating my previous request in a message sent to the e-mail address provided and telling no-last-name Lesley this:
“I won’t say that I look forward to a prompt reply, since that did not happen. I do, however, look forward to some sort of reply ASAP.”
Now, we wait again…
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UPDATE 8/19/08, 3:30 p.m. Central: “Carl in Jerusalem” has wrote and published a post about “Ramadan Coke” after linking to this post. In part, he writes:
But I had a different question: Given that Coke contains caffeine, can Muslims drink Coke at all? After all, it has caffeine. The answer to that question does not seem very clear.
Click here to read the rest of his interesting post.