The Cola Conquest (1998)

(On DVD, September 2005) This special-interest DVD presents the three episodes of the Canadian-made “Cola Conquest” documentary, which digs in history to present a socioeconomic picture of the soft drink industry as dominated by Coca Cola and Pepsi. From origins in the dubiously effective “remedies” of the early twentieth century, the soft drink industry becomes a poster child for marketing, and even starts affecting politics during World War 2. The first episodes is the best, as it explains how sugared drinks attained their current position in today’s culture. Plenty of revealing information about the power of marketing! The second episode spends a bit too much time in the depths of the Cold War, but does a fine job at linking soft drinks to politics. The third one is a bit less focused, going from globalization issues to taste-tests. It’s all quite fascinating, though the pace of interest is somewhat uneven. Makes an interesting companion to Super Size Me.

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