Coca-Cola's secret formula - 2009

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coca-cola top-secretIn the SunTrust Bank in Atlanta lies one of the most sacred secrets in the business world: the 120-year old formula for Coca-Cola. That is the only certainty about the mysterious formula. Everything else may be a myth. Myth or not, at least three people recently risked going to prison for revealing the company’s mystery. They tried to sell Coca-Cola’s secrets to Pepsi for $1.5 million. This incident makes us wonder whether the formula is a real secret or just mystical marketing.
History suggests it’s a mixture of both. In 1886, a pharmacist called John Pemberton created the formula in his laboratory. Years later he sold it to a businessman, Asa Candler, who made the drink a success, which made everyone curious about what exactly went into it. Some said the main ingredient was cocaine, which Coca-Cola denies. Others were fascinated by the rumours about “7X”, the code name for the mixture of flavours. By 1919, when the Candlers sold Coca-Cola to a group of investors, the secret had become a marketing tool. The new owners gave it a place in American pop culture when they placed the formula in the Atlanta bank.
Experts say it’s not impossible to decipher the formula for Coca-Cola, but not 100 percent. And, anyway, copying it would be useless because it is not the secret formula that matters … it is the marketing that has made Coke such a success.




1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever it is possible (maximum 50 words)

2. Explain in English the meaning of the following expressions as used in the text.

3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one.

a) Copying it would be useless.
It would be useless to copy it.
b) The new owners gave it a place in American pop culture.
It was given a place in American pop culture (by the new owners).
c) It’s not impossible to decipher the formula.
Deciphering the formula is not impossible / is possible.
d) A pharmacist called John Pemberton created the formula in his laboratory.
John Pemberton, who was a pharmacist, created the formula in his laboratory.


4. Answer the following questions in your own words.

a) Why did three people risk going to prison?
b) How do we know Coca Cola want the formula to remain a mystery, and why do they want it to
remain a mystery?


5. Do you (and your friends) buy a product because of the name or because of the quality? Give
(Approximately 100 words)


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