COMMENT: The Big Pitch - What should Clyde Tuggle, Coke's new commshead, do in his first months in the job?


President Hope-Beckham

No company in America has better PR talent than The Coca-Cola


Bill Marks, Rob Baskin, Ben Deutsch, Polly Howes, Scott Williamson,

Linda Peek, and Kim Price - an all-star cast, as good as they come.

However, it is far easier to manage mediocre players than great talent.

So his first task will be to simply turn the horses loose and let them

do their jobs. My second tip is to have fun. Publicize Coca-Cola with

all the intensity and imagination that Hollywood put into Harry Potter.

If you can't have fun selling Coca-Cola, something's wrong. And go after

Pepsi with all your heart, nose-to-nose, eye-to-eye. Make the cola war

come alive with more passion and excitement than ever before. Coca-Cola

has star power ... use it. Consumers really love it when Coke and Pepsi

are duking it out. And, by the way, so does Wall Street. Finally, treat

the media and analysts like you treat customers. Be open, honest, and

friendly. Customers adore The Coca-Cola Company. If media and analysts

love you too, life tastes good.


Communications officer, University of Ottawa

To drive change at a company as huge as Coca-Cola, you have to make

gradual course corrections. Doing that well requires three main things:

a long view; the ability to lead and motivate, which means being able to

tell your people what they need to do and get them excited about doing

it; and the ability to convince your stockholders that you've got the

right ideas for the times we're in. Coke's iconic status as an

"American" drink will bring it back to top-of-mind status in patriotic

times. I'd be thinking about a new version of the "I'd like to teach the

world to sing" commercial for use after the heavy fighting subsides in

Afghanistan. There is going to be a huge thirst - no pun intended - for

nostalgia for simpler times, and for messages that tell us things can

get better, that bridges across canyons of culture, religion, and race

can be built.


Senior corporate comms manager, Merck-Medco

A recent survey by Sawyer Riley Compton Brand Storytellers of execs in

consumer- and b-to-b-driven companies showed they believe brands will

play an even greater role in the first decade of the 21st century than

they did in the brand-intensive 1990s. We all have a pretty decent

understanding of what Coca-Cola stands for. It's wholesome, it's

traditional, it's about the basics - and since September 11, back to

basics is where America is headed. The events have really accelerated

consumers' desire to return to fundamentals such as family and

community. I think Coca-Cola is strategically positioned to launch a

strong, wide-reaching branding campaign celebrating our newfound heroes,

their families, diversity, community, strength, and pride - with

Coca-Cola as the universal, international uniter. As one who remembers

"I'd like to buy the world a Coke," I think it would be incredibly

fitting, powerful, and a great opportunity for Coca-Cola to reestablish

itself as a symbol of America throughout the world.


CEO, The Geek Factory

First and foremost, he should celebrate his appointment by sending an

engraved invitation to Britney Spears (Pepsi's spokesbabe,) offering to

celebrate "the real thing" with him over dinner. When she leaves, after

an evening of comprehensive flattery and flirtation, she should be given

four magnums of Diet Coke as a reminder that the next time she "does it

again," she'll do it with a Coke. (Of course, if there happens to be

another handy photographer placed strategically nearby ...) Secondly,

Tuggle should ramp up the security on the vault that contains Coke's

secret recipe, just in case any former employees have memorized the

code. Can you imagine the chaos at the Coke PR department if the real

ingredients ever got out to the public? Finally, kill the press release

admitting that the East Lansing, MI plant is actually run by those fuzzy

polar bears from the commercials. Deny, deny, deny. If that ever got

out, PETA would be all over them.

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