Coca Cola and the doctrine of happiness

Drive north out of Kampala in Uganda and you will come across many signs like this one – Coca Cola has sponsored a local school and given the school a Coca Cola sign. A example of commerce invading people’s lives and landscapes you might think? But on reflection I think not.Coca Cola schools signs


It is (as I discovered from visiting schools) a fine example sensitivity to local culture and perfect fit between idea and medium,of Coca Cola getting it right by thinking about what their brand idea can means in different cultures and contexts.

In Uganda happiness really is a good education. Many aspire to it and many can’t afford it especially if their parents are either too poor or dead. There are many penniless orphans and struggling single parents burdened with a large brood of offspring and so there are many children for whom schooling is a dream and an aspiration and not, as we have it, a right.

Go inside these schools and you understand something else – they may be very ill-equipped but the mood is one of warmth, energy and joy. Like this one i visited on the outskirts of Kampala.

They had very little as you can see from the classroom but i have not met happier children.

Or children with better taste in Eyewear….kids2 Here one young lad tries on my glasses

So any money contributed to these schools is definitely a contribution to the sum of Ugandan national happiness.

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