The good, the bad and the jolly: taste, image and the symbolic resistance to the coca-colonisation of Denmark
Csaba, Fabian F.
121 - 136
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Imagining marketing: art, aesthetics and the avant-garde
This chapter examines the efforts of Denmark’s once favoured national cola, Jolly Cola, to resist the advancement of Coca-Cola and, to a lesser degree, Pepsi. In moving our looking glass to the struggles of this obscure Danish product, we seek to move the debate on globalisation, consumption and culture home to our own ‘back yard’. From here, we offer a refreshing story, drawn from our local narrative tradition and woven together with advertising imagery, about the ‘symbolic’ resistance to the Coca-colonisation of Denmark. The story is partially inspired by Baudrillard’s (1976) observation that each term in a disjunction excludes its other, its opposition, whereby the opposition becomes the imaginary of the former term. Hence, the American ‘other’ becomes the central imaginary against which references to Danishness are constructed. One of our key arguments is that marketing forms a central part of this particular imaginary whereby ‘Americanness’ becomes a particular element in the Danish approach to imagining marketing. This imagination takes it outset both in the very real representations of Coca-Cola’s and Pepsi’s marketing efforts and in the suprasensual imaginations (Wunenburger 1991), formulae of intuitive and creative genius that are believed to be the secret behind the success of the American marketing magic. We will look further into the seemingly futile marketing efforts to end and reverse the decline of Jolly Cola, a product which of course also represents a piece of Danish popular culture and commercial history. The purpose is not to perform a premature autopsy of Jolly, but to explore further the symbolic meanings of cola in relation to globalisation and consumption through the story and advertising imagery of an ailing local cola.