The Recall of Coca-Cola's Dasani in the UK *


Case Code : SCMKTG103
Publication date :2005
Subject : Subject :Marketing
Industry :Bottled Water, Beverages
Length : 12 Pages


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Abstract: ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India RSS Feed

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.

Questions for Discussion:

1. In March 2004, Coca-Cola voluntarily recalled its entire range of bottled water Dasani from the UK. Critically examine and comment on the events that led to the recall of Dasani. Do you think the explanation given by Coca-Cola to recall Dasani was satisfactory? Why or why not?
2. Comment on the way Coca-Cola handled Dasani's controversy. If you were the public relations manager of Coca-Cola UK how you would have handled this problem? Explain in detail giving reasons for your approach.
3. After the voluntary recall, do you think it is the end of Dasani in UK? How should Coca-Cola go about re-introducing Dasani? Give a detailed marketing and PR strategy for relaunch of Dasani in UK?

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

*Note : This case is a simplified version of a longer case study, and is intended for learners for whom English is a foreign language. The longer version of this case study (MKTG103) is available at: