Coke leaves Muhammad out of Sweden PR drive

Coke leaves Muhammad out of Sweden PR drive
Coca-Cola said it would have been "too provocative" to include Muhammad in a Swedish publicity campaign in which the US beverage giant replaced its curlicue logo with some of the most common names of young Swedes.

As part of a Europe-wide campaign, Swedish consumers will get to buy 115 million Coca-Cola bottles that will be relabeled to be called Daniel, Emma, and Johan, among other names plucked from a list of most common names among young Swedes.

Yet despite being among the list of popular names among young men in Sweden, Muhammad isn’t among the names chosen for the Coca-Cola campaign

“Symbolically, Coca-Cola is very much associated with the US. We discussed this internally before launching the campaign, and also spoke with the Islamic Association in Sweden,” the company’s Swedish marketing manager Gustaf Wetterwik told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“In the end, we came to the conclusion that it was less provocative not to include the name than to have it on such a US-associated product.”

Wetterwik added that they did not want to use the name of the Muslim prophet in a commercial context. The company also deselected the names Max and Felix due to trademark considerations – Max is a hamburger chain in Sweden while Felix is a line of frozen foods and condiments.

The “Share a Coca-Cola with” campaign chose a selection of names that were the most common among Swedes aged 12 to 29, using information from Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån – SCB).

More than 2,000 men are called Muhammad in Sweden, while the alternative spellings Mohammed is used by almost 9,000 and Mohamed by more than 10,000. In comparison, there are 173,243 Johans in the country, while there are more than 71,000 Emmas.

Coca-Cola was launched in Sweden in 1953 and the company today employs 800 people in Sweden.

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