Thursday, March 5, 2015

Coca-Cola the American drink

Semiotics is the theory and study of signs and symbols. It is about taking a non-traditional text and analyzing it, keying into the everyday meanings. In Bell and Freeman’s article, "Decoding of the Meaning of the Perfect Christmas Meal", we see Bell and Freeman decode magazines over a span of thirty years that represent Christmas and what it should be like. The magazines first portray women cooking the holiday meal and decorating, then the magazines start to include simple how-to directions. Further along down the line men are portrayed as the cook and women the servers. It was interesting to see the analysis of all those aspects.

So now I will do a semiotic analysis of America's drink of choice: Coca-Cola.

When Coca Cola first hit the market in 1886 and was a drink for the socialites. Later during World War II, Coca Cola became the soldiers drink due to the promise that anywhere in the world a soldier could have a Coke for just five cents. With these two key historical facts, how could this not be America's drink? It got it's start among the rich people, finally circulated to the less fortunate and then became the soldiers' drink of this great country. This is a country of patriotism and commerce and Coca-Cola embodies those two concepts. For example, look at the color of the logo. Red and white and the only color missing would be blue. Red and white are two of the three American colors and so the red and white in this logo signify that this brand is for the American people. In the past and today, Coca Cola has promoted their brand through ads and songs as the drink that brings people together. The font used for the word "Coca Cola" is close together and kind of loops into the letter following the last. This reminds me of that concept of bringing people together, it is showing the closeness of the words, reflecting the closeness of the people.
Coca-Cola is the American drink. It was marketed first to the rich, then everyone, soldiers including. Soldiers as the symbol of patriotism in our country. The colors of the logo are two-thirds the American flag colors, symbolizing that this drink is in fact for the American people (and others later). The letters of the logo are tightly compressed together and loop into each other signifying the closeness of the people who drink Coca Cola. 


  1. Good! Sometimes it can be hard to figure out the difference between a history of something (the history of Coke) and a diachronic semiotic analysis of something. One thing to think about is staying focused on texts: for example, how the logo has changed over time or how the ads or slogans have developed across the decades. Focusing on specific signs like this-- rather than just giving a history of the company as a whole-- will help keep this focused on the kinds of structuralist approaches that the semiotics folks favor.

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