Blogs & Comment

Winners & Losers: Coke buys the world a milk, Bell astroturfs iTunes

Nobody likes their phone company this much

▲ Coca-Cola

It even tastes expensive

Fairlife Milk

After decades of flooding the world with sugary, teeth-destroying, carbonated brown liquids, Coca-Cola is getting into the health game. The soft drink giant purchased a dairy producer in Indiana last year, and now plans to bring its products to the rest of America. Fairlife’s milk contains less sugar, less fat, more protein, and more calcium than your ordinary milk. It’s also lactose-free and has a longer shelf life. Coke’s North American president, Sandy Douglas, boasted about Fairlife at an investor conference this month. “It’s basically the premiumisation of milk,” he said, in a what’s basically a bastardization of the English language. But it’s true: Fairlife milk will cost twice as much. The concept of “Coke milk” may sound unappetizing, but it’s part of a smart diversification strategy. Sales of Coke and other soft drinks have been falling as a result of changing consumer tastes, and the company is trying to compensate in any way it can, expanding into fruit juices, tea, and energy drinks. Milk is one beverage it hasn’t tried, and Coca-Cola is optimistic about the prospects. “When you do it well,” Douglas said of the introduction of Fairfield, “it rains money.”

▼ Bell

AAA++++++++ would call again

Bell store

When the wireless carrier launched a new app on iTunes recently, it was almost immediately flooded with suspiciously effusive reviews. Suspicious because—let’s be honest—nobody really likes their telecom carrier that much. Scott Stratten, the founder of a company called UnMarketing, did a little detective work and discovered the gushing reviews were written by Bell employees. They didn’t bother to disguise their names (or speak in terms that normal humans use). One Bell reviewer wrote: “Awesome App and very user friendly, looking forward to include BTV and home phone services in future releases!” Bell denied there was a directive from the top encouraging employees to positively review its products, and instead attributed the reviews to “an overzealous effort on the part of our service team to highlight the app.” (Bell just has really engaged employees, okay? What’s all the fuss about?) Regardless of the company’s explanation, such reviews mislead consumers and undermine a rating system that is supposed to be based on trust. In beating up on Bell, though, it must disclosed that Canadian Business is owned by Rogers Communications. By the way, the new Rogers app is fantastic. Never had more fun paying my bills. ★★★★½ out of ★★★★★