No actor or actress, no red dragon or young successful Chinese people with their white attractive smiles are promoting the first lauch of Cherry Coke cans in China, but an american aged man. It is the face of one of the most reputed US businessmen in the USA, Warren Buffett, who is lending his image on the cans to launch the scented coke within the Chinese Wall.
“We honestly were surprised when Mr. Buffett agreed to the idea. But we’re thrilled, and he’s selling well,” Shelly Lin (Coca-Cola China’s Marketing Director for Trademark Coca-Cola) notes.
Buffett’s investing success has become legendary in China, prompting an increasing number of Chinese investors to make the annual trip to Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meeting in Omaha, Neb (USA).
“Chinese consumers love new flavors and crave excitement from brands like ours as we launch new products,” said Shelly Lin, Coca-Cola China’s Marketing Director for Trademark Coca-Cola. “As we thought of the most creative ways to bring the great taste of Cherry Coke to China, we thought who better to celebrate the launch of this special drink than its best-known fan,” she explains.
Leaving aside that it is well known Buffett’s Cherry Coke, since the late 1980s, Berkshire Hathaway has been Coca-Cola’s largest single shareowner with an investment of 400 million shares. In its most recent annual report, Berkshire disclosed a gain on its Coca-Cola investment of more than $15 billion, not including the ongoing benefits of quarterly dividends.
Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said he is pleased that the China business chose to launch Buffett’s favorite drink in such a unique way.
“I can’t think of a better way to launch Cherry Coke than with its best-known fan on the package,” Kent said. “It is an honor for us to be able to feature Warren on his favorite drink as it rolls out in one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic consumer markets.”
On the drawing Buffett said, “I did not sit down for a portrait. I think Muhtar knew better than to ask for this; I’ve never been keen on that sort of activity.”
“Four or five months ago, Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO, Muhtar Kent said they were going to introduce Cherry Coke into China and asked me about putting my picture on the cans and bottles,” Buffett told Yahoo Finance. “I said it would be fine to do it for the first six months after launching the product. If there are no problems associated with this and he asks me to continue, I will likely say OK. Incidentally, there is no compensation involved.”
Launched in mainland China on March 10, Cherry Coke is available in both traditional and modern trade outlets in 330-ml cans and 500-ml PET bottles. Buffett will appear on the special-edition cans for a limited promotional period, while supplies last.
Image over the headline.- The 330-ml limited edition Cherry Coke China can with Warren Buffett’s face on it. © The Coca-Cola Company.
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