Fancy a coca cola?

Clare Gosling: I want to talk about Coca Cola in relation to globalization, post colonialism and art. It always amazes me when I find myself in the middle of noware and Coco Cola is ever-present. Weather in Goa on the coast of India, or Macau off the coast of Hong Kong, both places have been colonized by the Portuguese and are little pieces of Portugal. Both these places have coca cola signs hand painted on crumbling walls created by the local artists slowly painting away with their bright red paint – all paid for by coca cola. Behind these crumbling walls coca cola in every size shape and type of bottle is being served.


It amazes me further when in the middle of the desert (in Mongolia for example) having not seeing another person for hours and hours as I drive through grassy planes and sandy rocks, and then suddenly in the middle of a flat desolate stretch of land appears a tiny wooden hut, in which is… guess what piles of crates of coca cola for sale.


It doesn’t matter how far you go to places you think might just have been lucky enough to have escaped globalization because coca cola is there – it is everywhere. So it only seems natural that artists will comment it upon as the perfect brand to represent globalization. Here are among a few known artists who have used coca cola as a subject choice in their art.,r:29,s:0&biw=1779&bih=1022


The above link is an image of coca cola bottles by Andy Warhol.,r:25,s:145&biw=1779&bih=1022


The above link shows a woman enjoying her coca cola and the words “An advertisement art history” are included in the painting.,r:1,s:145&biw=1779&bih=1022


The above link shows Elvis and all his mates enjoying coca cola.


Along with happy families, Father Christmas, Marilyn Monroe, dogs and polar bears everyone and everything seems to be enjoying coca cola in these painted images. I would like to see some of the reality of coca colas impact shown in paintings more frequently. Below are some images that I feel show the reality of coca cola in the world.,r:0,s:0


This image shows a local Mongolian man sitting outside his shop with crates of coca cola.,r:19,s:54&biw=1779&bih=1022


This image shows the effects of coca cola has on camels. And finally the link below shows a coca cola plant in the Mongolian capital.,r:20,s:0&biw=1779&bih=1022


Finally I would like to add a note about how coca cola creeps into every corner of the world. The following links are to articles written about how coca cola paid money to help save the architecture and artistic heritage of Venice and in return littered the majestic and magical streets with vending machines. Here is the intro to the article from the BBC.

A row has broken out in the Italian city of Venice over a new 2.1m-euro (£1.8m; $2.7m) sponsorship deal between the authorities and Coca Cola.

Venice’s mayor said the funds raised by allowing vending machines to sell the drink across the city would be used to safeguard its artistic heritage.


Clare Gosling



About Clareg

This entry was posted in clare, globalisation and art, identity/postcolonial art, tp1011 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fancy a coca cola?

  1. heather28 says:

    Hello Clare
    Your piece on Coca Cola is interesting and shows just how invasive are the tentacles of the octapus (appropriating another blogger’s title). The company has even appropriated Aboriginal art for its promotion; see their bottles at Rather than the artist using the brand as an element within the artist’s work, in my example, the brand uses the artist to promote the commercial product

  2. Julia Guest says:

    Clare, Iraq under sanctions was one of the few places I have been to that did not have real Coca Cola, just occasionally multi recycled bottles.. used over more than a decade. However they had created their own version Kufa Cola.. according to this article, just six months before the war It didn’t last long.. The former Government had held a globalisation conference in 2002.. however very few people went to it, so there was little chance for the idea of locally produced being better spreading.

    They also had fake McDonalds in the North.. Madonals and Matrix were two I saw using the golden arches.

  3. Alexa says:

    Hi Clare,

    Yes I quite agree with your use of Coca Cola to illustrate, how far globalisation has reached even the far corners of the earth. Mac Donald’s is also another one of those corporate brands that can be found everywhere. I think perhaps sometimes coming across familiar brands for travelers is a comforting thing, as it is something they know – however as you comment, what detriment to other cultures have these corporate companies had? A lot I suspect? I seem to remember hearing about or seeing Mac Donald’s at tourist spots such as the pyramids and Niagara falls – ancient or natural wonders spoiled(?) by corporate giants. Sorry to link to Wikipedia but this map on the spread of Mac Donald’s around the globe is quite an interesting one:

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