Monday, August 27, 2012

World of Coca-Cola: Culta-Cola?

I took my daughter to Atlanta, Georgia, last week. We had an incredible time together and discovered that Atlanta is a really fun city to visit. We went to the Georgia Aquarium and Stone Mountain and the Martin Luther King Historical Site.

But the weirdest thing in Atlanta is The World of Coca-Cola. Located in the heart of downtown, the World of Coca-Cola is nothing less than bizarre. The closest analogy I can make to describing this experience is being indoctrinated into a strange, fizzy, corn syrupy cult.

We paid our $16 each, and entered the welcome chamber. The 20 foot high walls were covered top to bottom with Coca-Cola advertising from across the ages and around the world. There, a Coca-Cola priestess introduced us to some of the sect's primary principals: Peace, Love, and above all, Happiness. We were told we would now watch a 7 minute orientation film.

In the film, strange non-human characters taught us to "try new things" and "be in the now."

After we watched the film, we were invited to view the inner-sanctum, also known as the Vault, wherein is kept the Holy writ containing the sacred recipe. We waited with the other converts, surrounded with displays explaining the need for secrecy. Our photos taken, our bodies digitally scanned, we were now permitted to enter the Holy Place.

A 360 degree film depicted the inside of a cola glass filling with ice and soda, as we stood in the middle of it, and listened to Donald Sutherland recite the holy rites officially baptizing us. Then the screens parted and we were allowed to view the Vault, the Holy of Holies if you will. But we were not permitted to enter, of course, for only the High Priest may do so.

From there, we spent an hour surrounded by imagery and artifacts, all declaring one thing:

The message we were to embrace was, and I quote: "Above all, Coca-Cola evokes a passion for living."

Then we were taken to the tasting room. Like every top-level cult, we needed to sip the punch. And there were 60 to choose from, from every corner of the world. We were given a bottle of cola to take home with us, and then asked to leave through the gift store where many new initiates and novices were paying their own money to purchase shirts and caps emblazoned with the Coca-Cola logo to assist in their own proselytizing efforts.

However, Maggie and I looked at each other and said the same thing:

I prefer Pepsi.

Interesting side note: Coca-Cola gets its name in part from its use of the coca leaf, which gave it quite a cocaine infused kick. Pepsi got its name from its use of pepsin to aid in digestion. I'm more of a pepsin kind of guy.


Shmoopie said...

Another fun museum to visit is the Spam (the "meat," not the electronic nuisance) Museum in Austin, MN. Not nearly as cult-like as the Coca Cola Museum, but entertaining - and free!

The Digital Hairshirt said...

Did they invite you to an auditing session? That would be a sure sign it was time to leave.

Toots McGee said...

No Coke, Pepsi!

Anonymous said...

Today's strip... well, this just transcends all previously set levels of lameness.

Editor: "YOU Weston--will single-handedly bring the circulation of this fishwrap out of the dumpster!!"

Wilbur (sporting an impressive set of 'jazz hands'): " Oh yes! I can DO this, I am ALIVE and I CAN DO THIS!!! I'm so giddy with excitement that I think I just crapped my pants!! But who cares?!? I'm ALIVE!!"

Walt Whitman said...

O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I,
and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the
struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see
around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here--that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't be wearing a tie made of black rubber mesh, but I AM!

Poor Wilbur seems to have lost 2 of his usual 4 comb-over hairs in panel 1.

heydave said...

Did you learn the secret handshake?
Are you privately wearing Coke boxers to proclaim your affiliation?

Ditto on the Spam Museum for its funness!

heydave said...

OM and G. I thought Anonymous was kidding about today's lameness.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Anonymous said...

Wilbur throws his arms up with childlike excitement....or is he being arrested for criminal lameness?

LouiseF said...

Hmm. . . We went to the Coke museum and didn't get invited into the fizzy baptismal font. Wish we had. Your description of the sacred Coke museum is SO right on, especially the part about people buying items to continue their "prosletyzing". I cannot understand why there are so many versions of this carbonated drink around the world and why Coke has them on tap as it does. Isn't their point to imprint the taste of the One True Coke on people?? Seems a little blasphemous to offer so many variations. Personally, I was a little sick after tasting so many variations. . . Just as put off as I am to see Wilbur waving his hands in glee over the possible Pulitzer Prize he's going to get for his tacky series on how mamy peoples' heads he had to step on to save himself at sea. Nice segue back to Mary Worth, don't you think?

Dave in Parma said...

Nice "OOOOOHHHH---Sparkly!" motion Wilbur.

I don't think that even Wilbur can save the print news.

The Coke Mueseum was a fun visit back when I stopped in--just before the Atlanta Olympics. They were giving samples of Clear Coke at the time.

Limber Joe said...

LOVE the SPAM museum! (Who wouldn't?)

Similarly, the lion's share of posters seem to be from N/E Ohio, like/dislike many of the same things, have been to the same obscure places and possess a very dry wit.