In recent years, their message has changed in America to take out most of the gender references and focus instead on the street culture of the adolescent generation. In its reintroduction to the Saudi Arabian market, the company has taken a similar approach but modified it some to be more in keeping with the attitudes and beliefs of the Saudi culture. By comparing the advertising approaches of the Coca-Cola company in America in the past two decades with that of the Saudi campaign since its reintroduction in 1988, one can get a sense of how these cultures are different and the same.
In the 1990s, Coke turned to the adolescent and pop markets for advertising inspiration in America. They didn’t focus on gender types at all, but instead worked to portray a healthy, balanced yet completely in tune and alive product that radiated energy. A television advertisement in the mid-1990s displayed a chalk drawing with several renderings of the circular Coca-Cola logo against a multi-hued background reminiscent of the 60s hippie styles. This even goes as far as to insert psychedelic-type paint styles and the insertion of the word “Always” in various ways that both serve to highlight the use of the product always, reinforce its place in the iconography of American culture (along with the use of the hippie artistic style) and associates itself with a new and energized pop culture that remains focused on the young. The bottle that becomes the focal point of this image does not have any of the detail Americans were used to seeing, even going so far as to leave the label off, featuring nothing more than a brown bottle shape.
By contrast, the commercials played in Saudi Arabia focused almost exclusively on people as one commercial limits the viewing area to the face of a woman wearing traditional head-covering and to the glass in which she is pouring her Coke. The labeled bottle of