Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Marko Pekica
Photo: Dragan Sakan, Marko Pekica and Ekrem Dupanović, a long, long time ago
This year Coca-Cola will celebrate its 132nd year of existence (May 8, 1886, Atlanta, Georgia, John Pemberton) and 50 years of operations on the Croatian market.
This made me recall my life with Coca-Cola. I am happy and proud that, as a marketing director and consultant for South East Europe, I gave my humble contribution in the rich history of one of the world’s greatest brands, and the development of this favourite refreshing beverage in our region.
Over 43 years have basses since May 17, 1975, when I transferred from OZEHA, the then largest Yugoslav propaganda agency, to Coca-Cola.
I remember it all as if it was yesterday. But, regardless of the freshness of these memories, I’m not going to write now about those days, and about how it felt to leave my family, Zagreb and friends, and move to Ljubljana, which I also love.
This time I just want to talk about how Coca-Cola professionally enriched me, and taught me so many marketing skills.
I’m also not going to talk about the many travels, presentations, opening new filling stations (Hadžići, BiH – Hasan Japalak; Lipljan, Kosovo – Seljatin Ajvazi and Žalec – Rudi Cizej) and meeting with friends, colleagues and business partners. I could almost write a novel about all that.
I worked for other major world brands as well: Meinl Coffee, Schweppes, Martini, Marlboro, McLaren, Ferrari, Bond Street, Camel, Winston … and for the biggest and most famous domestic brands: Saponia – Faks helizim, Coral Presto, Tipso, Badel – Cezar, Jamnička, Kraš – Bajadera, Kolumbo, Franck – Kava, Kroki kroket, Čipi Čips, Bianca, Slovin – Jupi, Cockta, Frupi, Kolinska, Emona, Kamensko, Vesna Zagreb, Karlovačka pivovara, Polo, Jolly, Clif, Maraska – Amarena, Peko, Rašica, Meblo, Sarajevski kiseljak, etc. Itd.
I’ve learned a lot from all of them, but what I’ve lived and learned in Coca-Cola is immeasurable and singular. In my frequent public appearances, speeches and lectures at various faculties, I was regularly asked, especially by students: “What did Coca-Cola do to enchant and infect you so? The answer is simple. Coca-Cola “bought” me with her history, her reputation, her humanity and her love for all the people of the world.
Here I have to point out another very, very important thing.
I learned at Coca-Cola that if I want to be successful in my work, I must first of all be competent, honest, moral and, of course, creative, kind, tolerant, always readily available and filled with feelings for other people.
In order to communicate successfully with our market, through our education programs we learned to always tell the truth, always be simple and understandable, and always listen to the pulse of the market – because it will make it much easier for us to meet the wishes and needs of our consumers.
You always have to carry your strongest weapons with you: knowledge, smile, good spirits and – I will repeat – love for all the people of the world.
It’s not without reason that psychologists say that these are the musical chords that soothe every heart and soul. Yes, that’s Coca-Cola! It’s first among the big brands that ignored the borders and connected continents. It is a symbol of warmth and friendship. Coca-Cola is the style and philosophy of life. It is the real experience of joy and happiness. It’s the real deal. It’s the best refreshment for the best of times, for special occasions, for great celebrations, but also for very small daily social gatherings.
Thanks to its quality and its diligent people, Coca-Cola will continue to be equally loved and cherished in the centuries to come as it is today in every corner of the globe – I am sure of this.
That’s why I love her, and that’s why I’ll always carry her in my heart.