Cola Turka was introduced two weeks ago in Turkey and is proving an overwhelming success.
A precision-guided product perhaps?
Local newspapers have suggested deteriorating relations between the US and Turkey, both NATO members for some 50 years, have boosted the newcomer’s allure.
Turks choose Turkish
“Because of the war in Iraq, 90 percent of Turks have turned against the US,” said Didem, a shopkeeper in the centre of Istanbul. “Many chose to buy local rather than US products.”
“We didn’t chose to take advantage of the political situation,” Eda Gokkan, an advertising executive at Young Rubicon charged with promoting the brand, added.
The product launched just as news broke about US soldiers in northern Iraq detaining Turkish troops, suspected of planning to assassinate a Kurdish official. It was greeted with a wave of nationalistic fervour and sales of Cola Turka soared.
Since then, Cola Turka – which is owned by the Turkish Ulker food group – has gained an astounding 25 percent market share. And this, in a country that consumes billions of litres of the stuff each year, AFP said.
In France, a similar product was born in 2002. Mr Mathlouthi, its owner, specifically targeted Muslims who felt they shouldn’t be spending money on American products if they could help it.
It was called Mecca Cola, and, much like Cola Turka, has proved a surprising success.
Mecca Cola is about confronting “America’s imperialism and Zionism by providing a substitute for American goods and increasing the blockade of countries boycotting American goods,” Mr Mathlouthi told BBC News Online.
One attractive feature of Mathlouthi’s offering is his pledge to donate 10 percent of profits to charities operating in Palestinian territories and 10 percent to European Non-Governmental Organisations.
Mecca Cola is now sold in most European countries and orders from Middle Eastern states such as Saudi Arabia have sky-rocketed.
And Coca-Cola’s reaction to all this?
“Ultimately it is the consumer who will make the decision,” an unidentified spokesperson told AFP.