In 2015, Fanta began an advertising campaign that was meant to promote a new drink recipe in an effort to commemorate the soda’s 75th anniversary. The advertisement was broadcast in German, and it explained how Fanta was originally created by the company’s employees. It goes on to detail that “resources for our beloved Coke in Germany were scarce,” so the employees at Coca-Cola used the ingredients that were available to them and developed a new drink of their own. Towards the end of the advertisement, the narrator says, “we are bringing back the feeling of the “Good Old Times” with the new Fanta Classic” to celebrate the German soda turning 75 years old. This new soda was being inspired by the original recipe and was to be available in the “unmistakable ring-bottle.”
Although this advertisement was intended to celebrate a big anniversary for the company, it soon turned into a social media nightmare for them. When the advertisement explained how the soda was created, it left one detail out. In the 1940s, the scarce resources in Germany that the company experienced were due to trade embargoes that were placed on the Nazis during World War II. Although Fanta’s intentions with the advertisement were innocent, the company has long been subject to rumors accusing it of having relations to Nazi Germany. After the ad was released, they were hammered by online commenters who were furious at the company. These commenters were upset that the advertisement refers to the 1940s as “the good old times” since the soda was born in Nazi Germany.
Coca-Cola quickly pulled the Fanta advertisement after the backlash they received on social media. They issued a statement that explained the video was meant to evoke positive childhood memories for their consumers by basing the new product on the original Fanta formula. They issued another statement which read “Fanta was invented in Germany during the Second World War but the 75-year-old brand had no association with Hitler or the Nazi Party.”
This example just goes to show how careful companies need to be in today’s time. Consumers have a much louder voice these days, and information spreads much more quickly. Social media platforms allow consumers to easily speak their mind about different companies, whether it be good or bad. In order to limit social media backlashes like Fanta experienced, companies must be more cautious and carefully think through all aspects of their advertisements before releasing them to the public.