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New Coke: If Today’s Catholics Were In Charge


In April 1985 the Coca-Cola Company introduced a new formula for their flagship product, Coke. Called “New Coke,” it was a public relations disaster and within months the company reverted back to their beloved formula. But what if history were different? What if Coca-Cola handled the release of New Coke like many of today’s Catholic leaders handle the current crisis in the Church?

July 1985
Meeting of top Coke executives

CEO: So, it’s been three months since New Coke was introduced – how’s it going?

Mr. Eldridge, VP of Operations: Not so good. We’re getting a lot of complaints. People seem to like the old formula better.

Mr. Newmann, VP of Marketing: Well, it takes time for people to accept change. I’m sure after a while people will start to embrace it – after all, all our experts have told us this is the way to go!

Mr. Eldridge: I don’t know – it seems like most regular people want to go back to the old formula.

Mr. Newmann: Well, the latest research clearly states that New Coke is the future and will bring Coca-Cola into the modern world.

Mr. Eldridge: It doesn’t seem like our customers agree.

Mr. Newmann: Well, there is always resistance whenever there is change. But we can’t go back to pre-New Coke days – that would be turning back the clock.

CEO: I agree with Mr. Newmann – visionary companies like Coca-Cola don’t move backwards. Let’s stick with New Coke.

October 1985

CEO: Tell me some good news, people.

Mr. Eldridge: I’m not sure if there’s…

Mr. Newmann (interrupting): New Coke is really taking the world by storm, sir! People are starting to ask for new formulas for all our drinks: Mello Yellow, Diet Coke, Sprite…

Mr. Eldridge: But our sales are down dramatically, and Pepsi’s are up.

Mr. Newmann: Don’t be so negative, Mr. Eldridge, New Coke is the wave of the future. Just the other day the Washington Post was praising us for our bold moves to reshape the beverage industry.

Mr. Eldridge: Didn’t you hear me? Our sales are down dramatically – it’s clear the people don’t like New Coke!

CEO: That’s enough Mr. Eldridge. We need to be positive and understand the importance of what we’re doing here – we must look with joy and hope to a new and exciting future! Sure, making such a major change might ruffle some feathers, but the worst thing we could do is go backwards. On with New Coke!

April 1986

CEO: It’s been a year since we introduced New Coke; let’s have a status report.

Mr. Newmann: Things couldn’t be better, sir. We are being praised by all the experts for our commitment to New Coke.

Mr. Eldridge: Things couldn’t be worse, sir. Our sales have tanked. 20% of our workforce has left because they are so disillusioned, and we had to slash another 30% because of our decreased revenues.

Mr. Newmann: Don’t listen to him, sir. I don’t know why he’s always so negative. We really are in a springtime for our company. We’re no longer bound to our old formulas and can reshape the company in a modern way. I propose that we change the formula for ALL our drinks!

Mr. Eldridge: What? Are you crazy!?

CEO: That’s a great idea, Mr. Newmann. In two months I want every drink we offer to have a new, modern formula.

Mr. Newmann: I’ll get right on it, sir.

August 1986

CEO: The new drinks have been on the market for a few weeks – what’s the response?

Mr. Newmann: Great, sir! Every business journal is lauding our visionary leadership, and universities are starting to teach your management techniques as standard in their business schools.

Mr. Eldridge: But no one is actually buying the drinks! We had to lay off another 20% of the staff – if we keep this up, there won’t be a company anymore!

Mr. Newmann: Okay, perhaps we do need a change.

Mr. Eldridge: Finally! So when can we get Old Coke back on the shelves?

Mr. Newmann: Old Coke? I think you misunderstand me – I suggest that we introduce another new formula to Coke – make it “New New Coke!”

Mr. Eldridge: What? But New Coke is only a little over a year old – and you want to introduce another new formula?

Mr. Newmann: New Coke is outdated now – that’s why sales are down. The solution, clearly, is to introduce a newer, fresher formula. That will bring our customers back.

CEO: Great idea, Newmann. Let’s get a new, new formula out on the streets ASAP!

December 1986

CEO: So, how is “New New Coke” doing?

Mr. Eldridge: As I suspected, it’s…

Mr. Newmann (interrupting): Excellent, sir! There is really a groundswell of support for “New New Coke.” People were obviously tired of New Coke, and they will definitely embrace this new product.

Mr. Eldridge: Actually, sales have fallen even faster than they did when we introduced New Coke. At this rate, the only people drinking our beverages will be in this room, and I’ve switched to Bourbon. I really think we should consider going back to Old Coke.

CEO & Mr. Newmann:  (gasp!)

Mr. Newmann: What are you, a reactionary? Why would we go back to such a time as Old Coke? We are marching into the 21st century, and you want to go back to the Dark Ages!

CEO: Newmann is right. We need to stay the course and continue to lead the beverage industry into the future.

September 1987

CEO: Your reports?

Mr. Newmann: Everything is awesome, sir! Based on what I read in the papers and see on TV, we have never been more popular. True, we had to shut down 10 of our factories, but that is just a sign of the times – nothing we could do about it.

Mr. Eldridge: We had to shut down those factories because no one is buying our drinks! Why can’t you guys see that our changes aren’t helping, they’re hurting?

Mr. Newmann: Nonsense, Eldridge. It’s clear what we need to do.

Mr. Eldridge: Please don’t say that we need to change the formula again…

Mr. Newmann: That is exactly what I am going to say! “New New Coke” is old-fashioned – none of the young people identify with it. We need to introduce “New New New Coke!”

CEO: Another excellent idea, Newmann! Get right on that.

May 1988

CEO: I’m looking at these sales reports, and they don’t look so good.

Mr. Eldridge: That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!

Mr. Newmann: Yes, sir, they don’t look that great, and I know the reason why.

Mr. Eldridge: Finally!

CEO: What is the problem, Newmann?

Mr. Newmann: The problem is Mr. Eldridge.

Mr. Eldridge: What?!

Mr. Newmann: Mr. Eldridge is holding us back. He’s always trying to bring back the bad old days of Old Coke, when people were slavishly drinking our product, instead of being open to other beverages, like Pepsi or Dr. Pepper.

Mr. Eldridge: But don’t we want people to drink our product?

Mr. Newmann: See what I mean? Mr. Eldridge, we shouldn’t be trying to proselytize others to Coke. We should allow them to choose their own beverage. After all, what does it matter which one they drink? We can’t be saying that our products are better than others, can we?

Mr. Eldridge: But…

Mr. Newmann: Clearly you need to go, Eldridge.

CEO: I agree. Mr. Eldridge, you’re fired!

(After Mr. Eldridge leaves)

Mr. Newmann: Now, how do you like the sound of “New New New New Coke”?

CEO: I like it…

19 thoughts on “New Coke: If Today’s Catholics Were In Charge”

  1. We didn’t get to the part where the CEO was a plant from Pepsi, and Newmann got an MBA from a university infiltrated by Pepsi operatives that taught misinformation so that their competitors would be filled with incompetent buffoons, and they could take over in the beverage wars.

  2. Mr Newman. Sir new new new coke is still too much like old coke we need to recreate coke with entirely atrifical ingredients we can call it “new false coke”

    CEO: or we can simply hand contol of our understaffed plants over to pepsi and othed cola companies who can then put their artifical colas in our empty coke cans and finally all cola can be united as the real thing

    Mr Newman, Great idea sir then customers will have no choice…. except that pesky former employee started his own company and as a shareholder in the company he is entitled to reproduce our products

    CEO…Dont tell me

    Mr Newman. Yes sir he is making old coke and its growing very fast as word gets around but its still only small numbers

    CEO Go agead with the merger and when thats complete we will crush our former employee

  3. It seems the Church is more brainwashed by the liberal bias in favor of all things modern, than Coca Cola Company was, because at least Coke went back and corrected their mistake.
    Our Church leaders are too proud and too brainwashed to accept that adaptation to the modern world was a big mistake. They will hold to their prejudice until the last Church closes and make excuses on how this is a good thing.

    • True. Also, Coca-Cola has to keep an eye on the bottom line, and if
      sales drop off, there’ll be heads rolling. There is no similar expectation
      of performance amongst leadership in the Church, sadly. We’ve seen
      decades of demographic decline in the Church– declining numbers of
      baptisms, marriages, vocations and Sunday Mass attendance. And for
      the most part the faithful and especially our bishops merely shrug and
      accept what they maintain is ‘inevitable’, because modern man is somehow
      different from mankind in all the preceding millennia, and so what can
      one do about it, etc. blah blah.

      What if heads did roll in the Church if the demographic decline
      wasn’t reversed? What would parish life be like if everyone knew that if
      there weren’t a certain minimum number of baptisms, converts and weddings
      per capita, then the pastor would be reassigned to a less desirable parish?
      What if all parishes had to produce a certain minimum of religious vocations
      per year per capita or face closure (or be reassigned to a more successful
      order)? What if bishops who presided ineffectually over the implosion of
      Catholic demographics in their diocese were to be be reassigned to a smaller,
      more obscure and less desirable diocese where their incompetence could
      do less damage? Or, even better, they could have their voting privileges
      at the USCCB revoked until they turned things around. After all, if they are
      failures in their own diocese, why should they help decide policy for the Church
      nationwide? Or perhaps one or two of the more egregious examples could
      be assigned as chaplains to some remote, ascetic monastery pour encourager
      les autres

      I think that if our leadership were actually serious about reversing the loss
      of souls we’ve seen over the past decades, some sort of system of checks
      and performance review would already have been put in place. (That
      would be modernity i could live with!) Instead, we see successful parishes
      like Our Savior and Holy Innocents in New York under siege. Compare the
      fate of the (once) flourishing, orthodox FFI to the fluffing our heterodox, dying
      congregations of sisters received at the end of their ‘visitation’ from Rome.
      Clearly, understanding the reasons for the collapse in Catholic demographics
      and doing the work of reversing the trend is not a real priority for our
      leadership, who seem content with decline.

  4. CEO: How can we get our sales to come up without going back to the dark ages Old Coke?
    Mr. Newman: Well we could make out bottles and cans look like Pepsi cans to make people more interested in our product. If any employees complain that we’re selling out our product, we can just call it a “packaging event” and make sure they understand we are discussing disciplines….umm containers, and not changing doctrine….umm I mean formula.
    CEO: That sounds great! Let’s have a listening meeting and acknowledge the otherness of those who prefer Pepsi!

  5. Very clever and accurate. This can be applied not only to the current synod but the clown circus of the last 50 plus years. Now….. how do we fix it? Too many identify the problem in its myriad iterations…no one has ideas that are working.


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