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Coke, woke and broke, offers cautionary tale

Daniel Greenfield writes for Front Page Mag about the problems plaguing one of America’s most familiar brands.

“Get woke, go broke”, is a conservative meme about the cost of political correctness that has it the wrong way around. Brands don’t go broke because they get woke, they go woke because they’re going broke, and don’t know how to stop the slow but steady collapse of their business.

The big brands that go woke infuriate conservatives because, like Coke, Gillette, or Nike, they have a storied name that seems entwined with America and the success of capitalism. But it’s those old, familiar brands that go woke because their products and business models are dated. Virtue signaling is their way of adapting to a changing market without really innovating. Behind every big woke brand is a company slowly going broke and with no clue what to do about it.

The wokeness vocabulary joins the thesaurus of corporate buzzwords used by executives trying to hide from their investors that they don’t know what they’re doing. Making headlines for their wokeness changes the conversation from their business model to their politics. Touting a brand as socially responsible evades questions about its financial viability.

Take Coke, please.

Coca-Cola’s global sales fell 28% in the second quarter of 2020 from $10 billion to $7.15 billion. The corporate giant blamed the pandemic which had shuttered movie theaters and bars, and began cutting its small brands while concentrating on its big signature brands.

But Coke was struggling even long before the pandemic. …

… The economic consequences of young white wealthy lefties dropping soda wasn’t just a sales issue. Wokes are a politically narcissistic demographic that legislates its tastes into law, pursuing the legalization of drugs, and bans on soda. Both drug legalization and soda bans were, as usual, done in the name of oppressed minorities, but had little impact on them.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...