Coca-Cola's Dasani in the UK - The Public Relations Fiasco

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG103 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2004-05
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Coca Cola
Industry : Bottled Water, Beverages
Countries : UK


Coca-Cola, the world's largest carbonated beverages company, ventured into the fast growing bottled water industry. The company launched its bottled water brand - Dasani in the US in 1999. Once it became a success in the domestic market, Coca-Cola launched Dasani in the UK in February 2004. However, Dasani soon ran into controversies as the British media wrote that tap water was the source of Dasani. The media criticized Coca-Cola for misleading public by describing tap water as 'pure' and cheating them by selling it at highly inflated price. The explanations given by the company that it adopted the most sophisticated purification process before bottling the water did not convince the critics.

To further add to Coca-Cola's problems, regular inspections conducted by the company revealed that something went wrong at the Dasani's purification factory and a bad batch of minerals contaminated the bottled water containing potentially carcinogenic (capable of causing cancer) bromate. Coca-Cola had to recall the entire range of Dasani from the UK and postpone indefinitely the launch of Dasani in France and Germany.


• Understand the public relation issues involved in Dasani's controversy in the UK.

• Appreciate the importance of developing a crisis management strategy.

• Appreciate the need for advance planning and preparation for managing crisis.

• Analyze how Coca-Cola handled the Dasani crisis and drawing lessons from it.


  Page No.
The Recall 1
Background Note 2
The Fiasco 3
The Controversy 5
The Aftermath 7
Exhibits 10


Coca-Cola Dasani Crisis Management Public Relations 'Purity' Controversy Product Withdrawal Advertising Strategy

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