Coca Cola brand Mt Franklin cops a mountain of criticism for opposing recycling initiaitive. Social media overdrive response.


Often things look a bit, erm, off kilter in the remote wilds of the Northen Territory, but this time it’s the city slickers not making any sense. OK a quick summary of where we’re at with this:  The Northern Territory recently established a 10 cent recycle refund on bottles and cans, an approach which has been helpful in other States in reducing pollution. Sounds like a bonza scheme..no? Coca Cola though its bottled water brand Mt Franklin, says not.

In what might prove to be an ill considered response, Coca Cola through Mount Franklin is opting to sue the Northern Territory government for establishing this “cash for cans” scheme. NT Chief Minister, Terry Mills, said the Government would fight the legal challenge in the interests of consumers, the recycling industry and the Territory as a whole.

“Today Coca-Cola has followed through with a threat it has made since the Container Deposit Scheme was first introduced in the Northern Territory – I have instructed our lawyers to prepare immediately to fight this challenge in Court,” Mr Mills said. “ Territory families now utilise it daily as a means of reward-based recycling…More than 35.5 million containers have been processed through the scheme since 3 January 2012”.

Let’s let the venerable Crikey lay it all out in their usually tongue deep in cheek style:

You get the idea…unsurprisingly Coca Cola’s action has not exactly endeared it to those of us who actually prefer their planet a little less strewn with plastic waste. And there a quite a lot who feel that way…over 11,000 so far according to a social media campaign being run through the sumofus.org platform. Witness the response on the Facebook site of Coca Cola’s bottled water brand Mt Franklin – it’s quite something…when I logged on about three hours ago there were hundreds of messages criticizing the company for its stance…so many that I simply could scroll through them all. I looked for an official response posting, or indeed any posting from the corporation, but either there was none, or it was completely overwhelmed.

Boy those angry consumers can get busy. But so can the corporates. When I logged onto the Facebook site just a few hour later, all the old messages had gone!  Those poor poor people at Mt Franklin’s social media agency must be wearing themselves ragged trying to stay ahead of the necessary deletions….they’d been busy adding happy positive posts about anything but recycling, however the new posts were again being swamped by new protest posts. Watching this fascinating power struggle unfold in real time made me wonder how the drones in the social media agency will sleep tonight knowing they have been actively quelling the validly concerned voices of their clients customers…much in the spirit of any totalitarian response to free speech.

What irony given that Mt Franklin created an admirably thinner plastic for its bottles (the lightest 600mL water bottle produced in Australia) which, in keeping with it’s ‘pure, green(washed)’ brand values is heavily featured in its site and on youtube. Exactly what’s so threatening about the NT’s recycling program that Coca Cola would do so much damage to one of its brands remains somewhat obscure.

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