Coca-Cola recipe: Coke responds

Coca-Cola recipe: After an episode of 'This American Life' aired what they claimed is the original Coca-Cola recipe, the beverage giant responded with claims that the formula for the real thing is still a secret.

Christian Hartmann/Reuters
Coca-Cola Co said on Tuesday that its flagship cola recipe is still secret after nearly 125 years, denying a story by a public radio show that it has uncovered the formula.

In response to an alleged original Coca-Cola recipe that went viral yesterday, after an episode called "Original "Recipe" aired it on "This American Life" last weekend, The Coca-Cola Company asserts that the formula published in a 1979 column in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution is not "the real thing."

Coca-Cola Company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler debunked the global furor over cracking the company's well-protected secret in a follow-up article the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:

"‘This American Life,' along with many other third parties, have tried over time to crack our secret formula," Tressler said. "At the end of the day, there is only one ‘real thing.' "

This stance, of course, is consistent with Coca-Cola Company's most powerful marketing message: We have the secret and you never will. As historian Mark Pendergrast pointed out on "This American Life," should Coca-Cola actually feel their secret was threatened they would have to produce the formula in a court of law. And this will never happen.

One thing is sure: The world is suddenly once again fixated on Coke. The original formula may have been a "cure-all" for digestive ills but the real secret formula is the company's adaptability to bottle whatever it is the American (and now global) public is yearning for.

"Throughout its history, Coca-Cola has always tried to express a refreshingly positive view of the world," chirps a 2009 press release announcing its "Open Happiness" marketing campaign right at the time when foreclosures were gaining momentum across the nation.

The global chatter has also brought attention to Charles Slater, the now-retired Atlanta-Journal columnist who first "broke" the story in his column "Georgia Rambler" in 1979. In a post for Fast Company, his son, Chuck Slater, describes informing his dad that his long-forgotten column was driving so much traffic to "This American Life" its website had buckled:

Me: Dad, have you been online this morning?
Dad: No, no, what’s going on?
Me: Well, it has nothing to do with Egypt. The Coke story that ran this weekend? It’s all over the place. The Daily Beast has it. The London Telegraph. It’s a top ten business story on Google News.
Dad: You’re kidding. After 30 years. You know, when I saw it in Everett’s book, the bells went off.

The celebration bells must be going off in Coca-Cola's headquarters, too. The signs of the times has once again repackaged Coca-Cola's well-guarded secret into something irresistible – an open-source recipe waving an heirloom banner.

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