In my last article, I discussed four interesting facts you likely didn't know about The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO). While going through all of the interesting information about the company, I discovered that there were more facts to talk about than what I had room to write. So, to atone for my intentional omission of information, I wrote this article to inform the Foolish investor about some more things you likely didn't know about the world's favorite beverage maker.
Coca-Cola goes digital!
First, electronics go digital, followed by clothing sales! What's next? Movies? Oh wait... scratch that. As shopping has moved more toward shopping online, so too has Coca-Cola moved to advertising online. On top of sporting an online store and advertising via platforms like Facebook, Coca-Cola has taken it upon itself to marketing its products in the world of videogames.
In PlayStation Home, a virtual world created by Sony (NYSE:SNE) for the PlayStation 3, there is a Coca-Cola vending machine that can transport users to the game's Georgia Break Station. There, they would lounge and be told about the company's new Georgia canned coffee product. On top of this, the vending machine would give out avatar apparel and real coupons that could be used with actual vending machines to get drinks.
Coca-Cola moves to the big screen... literally!
If dominating the world of beverages wasn't enough, Coca-Cola found the opportunity to jump into the movie business. In 1982, as Columbia Pictures was struggling, the company came in and acquired it for $693 million. This was, and remains to this day, the only non-beverage acquisition the company has made.
Before selling 51% of the company to Tri-Star in 1987 to the tune of $3.1 billion, the production studio released a number of big-name releases. These included Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, and Ishtar. However, Coca-Cola's ownership in the studio ended in 1989 when Sony finally acquired the combined Tri-Star/Columbia Pictures enterprise for $3.4 billion.
Things are different overseas
As of the company's 2012 fiscal year end, it earned 45.1% of its operating revenues from within its North America segment, while the next largest (excluding its Bottling Investments segment) is its Pacific one at 11.6%. This data point is impressive and stands as a testament to Coca-Cola's foothold in this region. However, it's the other regions that are interesting to me since that's where most of the company's future growth prospects likely are.
For instance, while Coca-Cola has a leading market share in the beverage business in the United States, it only controlled about 12% of the non-alcoholic drink market in the Middle East in 2011. In comparison, PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) had an 85% market share. Likewise, in Japan, the company's namesake product isn't anywhere near as popular as its Georgia tea, as both tea and coffee products are more preferred in this region.
C'mon... everybody does it...
Due to the nature of politics, a lot of major companies lobby in an attempt to preserve their business and, at times, to try and make business easier. Coca-Cola is no different, but its lobby activities have increased rapidly over the past several years.
In 2006, the company spent $1 million on lobbying. However, due to increased interest aimed at scaling back SNAP (food stamp) benefits on unhealthy food items and raising taxes on various beverages, Coca-Cola has ramped up its spending to as much as $9.4 million in 2009. On top of this, the company donated, in 2012, over $1.7 million toward fighting off California's Proposition 37, which would require companies with genetically modified ingredients to label them under their nutrition information.
However, Coca-Cola isn't the only company in the industry to see an increase in lobbying expenditures. In 2009, PepsiCo also spent roughly $9.4 million on lobbying. This represents a significant rise from the $1.2 million the company spent on lobbying in 2008.
As we can see, Coca-Cola is a fascinating company. In addition to facing different consumer tastes across the globe and political headwinds at home, the company has a rather innovative past of advertising and even had the bravery to jump into an industry that had nothing to do with its core business. I don't know about you, but I think that a company this interesting deserves a Foolish look.