On Coca-Cola and coaine

João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at SPAMmail.telepac.pt
Thu Aug 12 05:10:31 MDT 1999

Tim Murphy wrote:

> My feeling is that they would not use the stuff unless it was addictive
> enough to be worthwhile. When you think about it, to the uneducated palette
> Coca-Cola does not taste very nice, (fizzy, soapy water with sugar?). It is
> an acquired taste. Mind you, once you have acquired the taste.....  Ever met
> "Coke" addicts? - I have.

The great portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) for some time made a
living as a creative on a marketing company. Come to think of it, many
portuguese poets have done so since (Alexandre O'Neil, Ary dos Santos, Silva
Carvalho). I guess in this society poetry doesn't have enough market value to
earn one a decent living.
One of Pessoa's masterpieces on this prostituted field was a campaign for
Coca-Cola. This must have been in the 20's and the motto was:

"Primeiro estranha-se
Depois entranha-se"

Roughly translated this would be: "At first, it tastes strange; then it pierces
you". Of course, the aliteration is lost. Anyway, this must have been one of the
first instances of glorification of dependency in publicity.
An addict himself, I have no notice of Pessoa having ever traded his absinth for
a Coke in his melancholic drinking hours at the "Martinho da Arcada" cafe.

João Paulo Monteiro

P.S. Alexandre O'Neil had an absolutely brilliant idea for the campaign
promoting the recently built Lisbon subway:

- Vá de metro, Satanás.
(Take the tube, Satan)

Alas, this was the salazarist Lisbon of the 50's. It was overruled.

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