The history of the cornerstone product of the company goes back to 1886, when it was invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton purely for medicinal purposes and claiming it to be a ‘valuable brain tonic’ and a cure for a multitude of ailments. Today, Coca-Cola is readily recognized throughout the world, and the Coca-Cola Company has more than 92,400 employees on its payroll.
With its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the Coca-Cola Company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (KO), and is included in the thirty Dow Jones industrial average components, as well as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
As stated on its corporate website, the Coca-Cola company has as its mission: “to refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; and to create value and make a difference.” Certainly, Coca-Cola is readily associated with fun and socializing, concepts which are reinforced with its various event sponsorships, including the English Football League, NASCAR, NBA, PGA Tour, FIFA World Cups, Olympic Games, and American Idol.
In the United States, the Coca-Cola Company is actively involved in lobbying on behalf of the beverage industry, spending a total of $4.5 million in this activity in 2009, mainly fighting against proposed increased taxes on sweetened beverages. As a high-profile company, the Coca-Cola Company is subject to intense scrutiny, and has had its fair share of criticism, ranging from human rights violations and environmental issues, to suspect product ingredients and refuted claims of product health benefits. Nevertheless, this beverage giant continues to thrive and receive support from stock market players.