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Saturday November 13, 2004
Pre-Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

Sales of the world’s largest soft drink manufacturer, Coca Cola, have hit a slump. Although the beverage giant has been industry leader for generations, profit figures and sales forecasts announced yesterday were lower than expected. Coke’s shares suddenly seem to have lost their fizz. The future too doesn’t look so bubbly either, with demand expected to decrease for its 400 products in many of the 200 countries in which Coke operates. It seems the future is not carbonated.

CEO, Neville Isdell, gave several reasons why the economic forecasts had gone flat. One is the increased competition from its main rival in the soda market, Pepsi, the world’s second largest beverage maker. Pepsi’s water, Aquafina, and its sports energy drink, Gatorade, are market leaders in the US. Other factors for the slide include not focusing on health-conscious consumers who prefer mineral water or fruit juice to fizzy drinks, and an increase in new products from other companies. Isdell plans to spend $350m to $400m pushing its main products – Coke, Fanta, Dr. Pepper and Sprite.

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about Coke, soft drinks, mineral water etc.

2. 1-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in rows. Row A supports argument A, row B supports argument B. Introduce the following ‘arguments’ and change pairings regularly: Coke (A) is better than Pepsi (B) / fruit juice is better than fizzy drinks / Coke is good for you vs. Coke is bad for your health / Coke’s logo and bottle are cool vs. Coke’s logo and bottle are nothing special / Coke will disappear in the future vs. Coke will always be with us …

3. MY LIFE AND COKE: Students share idea, experiences about Coke and to what degree it has played a part in their lives.

4. LOGOS: Brainstorm other brand logos. Compare Coke’s logo with those brainstormed.

5. COLAS: Students talk about colas (Coke, Pepsi, Virgin, others).


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. SYNONYMS: Write the following words on the board: soft drink, carbonated drink, soda, fizzy drink, beverage, sports drink, pop, cola, caffeinated drinks. Students find similarities and differences between the words and attribute different products to each label.

2. SPECULATE: Students speculate what the headline, ‘Coke Isn’t It’ means. In pairs they have to come up with three possibilities. Change partners and swap your ideas, choosing the most likely.

3. PRE-TELL THE ARTICLE:  Students piece together the contents of the article from the following snippets of information:
worldwide sales … hit a slump … industry leader for generations … shares … lost fizz … decreased demand … main rival … Pepsi … health conscious … new products.

4. TRUE / FALSE: Students circle which of the following they think are true (T) or false (F) about Coke:
- Coca Cola is the world’s second largest soft drinks manufacturer.  T / F
- Coca Cola reported record profits yesterday.  T / F
- Coca Cola operates in 25 different countries.  T / F
- Coca Cola produces 400 different soft drinks.  T / F
- Coca Cola’s main rival is Perrier.  T / F
- Coca Cola makes Gatorade.  T / F
- Coca Cola needs to focus on healthier drinks.  T / F
- Coca Cola makes Dr. Pepper.  T / F
- Fizzy drinks are good for your teeth.  T / F

5. PHRASE / WORD MATCH: Students match the following lexical items taken from the article:

 

soft drink manufacturer

gone flat

 

hit a slump

carbonated

 

lost their fizz

the slide

 

bubbly

beverage maker

 

fizzy drink sales

fizzy drink

 

soda

the soda market

 

products

lines

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Coke Isn’t It

Worldwide sales of the world’s largest _______ drink manufacturer, Coca Cola, have _______ a slump. Although the beverage _______ has been industry leader for generations, profit figures and sales forecasts announced yesterday were lower than expected. Coke’s shares suddenly seem to have _______ their fizz. The future for fizzy drink sales doesn’t look so bubbly either, with demand expected to _______ for its 400 products in many of the 200 countries in which Coke operates. It seems the future is not carbonated.

 

  lost
soft
giant
decrease
hit
CEO, Neville Isdell, gave several _______ why the economic forecasts had gone flat. One is the increased competition from its main _______ in the soda market, Pepsi, the world’s second largest beverage maker. Pepsi’s water, Aquafina, and its sports energy drink, Gatorade, are market _______ in the US. Other factors for the slide include not focusing on health-conscious consumers who _______ mineral water or fruit juice to fizzy drinks, and an increase in new products from other companies. Isdell plans to spend $350m to $400m _______ its main lines – Coke, Fanta, Dr. Pepper and Sprite.   leaders
reasons
prefer
rival
pushing

2. TRUE / FALSE:  Check your answers to the above T / F activity.

3. QUESTIONS:  Students make notes on anything they read in the text they want to ask their partner / the class about later.

4. SPECULATE / PRE-TELL:  Students check their speculation / pre-telling against the article.

5. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Check the answers to the T / F exercise and correct those that are incorrect.

3. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the questions they thought of above.

4. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

5. TRUE - TRUE:  Students use the following (correct) information from the above True/False activity in a boardroom discussion. Each pair / group must consider each point and respond with a marketing strategy. Change pairs/groups and assess each other’s strategies, highlighting the positive points and picking holes in weaker areas. Have a class presentation / vote for the best:
- Coca Cola is the world’s largest soft drinks manufacturer
- Coca Cola reported very poor profits yesterday.
- Coca Cola operates in 200 different countries.
- Coca Cola produces 400 different soft drinks.
- Coca Cola’s main rival is Pepsi.
- Coca Cola doesn’t make Gatorade.
- Coca Cola needs to focus on healthier drinks.
- Coca Cola makes Dr. Pepper.
- Fizzy drinks are not good for your teeth.

6. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 6 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

7. COKE IS IT: Pairs / Groups – Create a new worldwide advertising campaign for a new taste of Coke. Think of the name, the slogan, what kind of image, the market, the TV advertising, sales promotions, the colors to be used, the music etc. Present the campaigns to the class / another group. The class / other group asks questions about or picks holes in the campaign.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Coca Cola. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. NEW PRODUCT: Write a short magazine advertisement for a new product that will challenge Coca Cola.

4. MINI-PROJECT: Create a poster on Coca Cola.

ANSWERS

GAP FILL:

Coke Isn’t It

Sales of the world’s largest soft drink manufacturer, Coca Cola, have hit a slump. Although the beverage giant has been industry leader for generations, profit figures and sales forecasts announced yesterday were lower than expected. Coke’s shares suddenly seem to have lost their fizz. The future too doesn’t look so bubbly either, with demand expected to decrease for its 400 products in many of the 200 countries in which Coke operates. It seems the future is not carbonated.

CEO, Neville Isdell, gave several reasons why the economic forecasts had gone flat. One is the increased competition from its main rival in the soda market, Pepsi, the world’s second largest beverage maker. Pepsi’s water, Aquafina, and its sports energy drink, Gatorade, are market leaders in the US. Other factors for the slide include not focusing on health-conscious consumers who prefer mineral water or fruit juice to fizzy drinks, and an increase in new products from other companies. Isdell plans to spend $350m to $400m pushing its main products – Coke, Fanta, Dr. Pepper and Sprite.

PHRASE / WORD MATCH:

 

soft drink manufacturer

beverage maker

 

hit a slump

the slide

 

lost their fizz

gone flat

 

bubbly

carbonated

 

fizzy drink sales

the soda market

 

soda

fizzy drink

 

products

lines


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