Sunday, June 1, 2014

Coca-Cola cares about migrant workers, they really do


This video has been making the rounds among Filipino Facebook users recently and as you know, there are a lot of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) that work in the Gulf. Most of their occupations are in the service industry as waiters and domestic help, but many also work as engineers, nurses, and IT professionals.
This video highlights Coca-Cola's efforts to better the lives of migrant workers who live and work far away from their friends and family back home.

As you can see, this video focuses on South Asian "labourers" in Dubai. Their plight is similar to that of many Filipinos, who remit their wages back to their native country. According to the Central Bank of the Philippines, remittances by Filipinos in the UAE last year amounted to $1.26 billion

In this particular ad, the worker's daily wages are said to be $6 and it costs 91 cents to call home. In order for the workers to call home more often, Coca-Cola installed booths that were bottle cap operated. Buy a Coke, buy a call home. But if a bottle costs AED 5.64, which amounts to US $1.54, then they're actually calling home at a higher price! I've talked before about how companies' ads aimed at informing or helping the public aren't entirely altruistic, but this one actually harms the customers it advertises to. They have to spend a higher portion of their hard earned wages to call their wives, brothers, and children. I mean, I don't know if men like this buy Coke all the time, but when it's 50 degrees Celsius outside, you're reaching for a water not a soda. If Coca-Cola really wanted to help these workers, which I don't think that they do, why not petition the government of Dubai to pay these workers more or BETTER YET, ALLOW THE WORKERS TO CALL THEIR LOVED ONES FOR FREE? The video depicts their life in Dubai as if it's an inevitable consequence of choosing to work overseas. It is not. These labourers do not have to live in cramped, substandard housing. As if the only thing that Coke could do was to have them pay to call their families. For a minute. Gimme a break Coca-Cola, gimme a break.


  1. The world is coming to a shame! While I was reading.. thought it was about coke helping out. But Unfortunately pretty disappointing that coke would use that for advertising. Using people's needs (weaknesses) into their advantage. Tisk tisk coke

    1. Tsk tsk indeed! This isn't the first time the company has done wrong. A few years ago I watched FLOW: For the Love of Water, a documentary about the privatization of water and it exposed pollution and water deprivation practices committed by an Indian Coca-Cola factory. If you don't have the time to watch it, you can read this article from The Guardian about it.

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