Storm in a Coke can: Independent bookshop takes on corporate giant

Coca-Cola's marketing campaign hitting Norwich. The Book Hive manager Rory Hill who was repeatedly asked to remove the quote from his A board on London Streer. Photo: Steve Adams Coca-Cola's marketing campaign hitting Norwich. The Book Hive manager Rory Hill who was repeatedly asked to remove the quote from his A board on London Streer. Photo: Steve Adams

Friday, May 30, 2014
4:53 PM

One of the bosses of soft drinks giant Coca-Cola visited an independent Norwich bookseller following a storm in a Coke can between the book shop and Coca-Cola staff.

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Coca-Cola's marketing campaign hitting Norwich. The Wild Man pub. Photo: Steve AdamsCoca-Cola's marketing campaign hitting Norwich. The Wild Man pub. Photo: Steve Adams

Members of Coca-Cola management had a meeting in Norwich today which included a walk through part of the city.

When The Book Hive manager Rory Hill arrived for work to see Coca-Cola branding displayed all over the London Street area in preparation for the visit, he decided to put up a sign of his own in response to what he described as Coca-Cola’s “promotional circus.”

“Many companies expect loyal customers without providing loyal service. This has been the visionary failure of countless corporations,” was the quote he displayed on his shop’s A-board and also in the windows.

Mr Hill, who also posted a large “Buy Local” sign in The Book Hive’s window, said he was repeatedly asked by members of the Coca-Cola team to take the quote down and that at one point somebody actually took his sign off the A-board.

“A Coca-Cola rep asked me to take the sign down and after that there were two more visits,” said Mr Hill, who also took to Twitter to vent his anger at how the Coca-Cola team had behaved towards him.

“It’s fine if other businesses want to get involved (in the Coca-Cola visit) but it’s also fine if we want to have our say.”

For more on this story see tomorrow’s paper.

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