Coca-Cola and the Chain Bridge of Budapest


This paper presents and analyzes the “encounter” of a multinational corporation, Coca-Cola, and the local environment as a typical example of contemporary cultural processes. It does not directly concern itself with advertising and marketing methods or with the various contemporary strategies of increasing market shares although the case to be analyzed is of interest largely due to these strategies. Advertising, or more precisely the debate that took place in Hungary around a 1996 advertising initiative put forth by Coca-Cola, is only of interest as much as it provides the setting in which the “global” and the “local” encounter each other. The debate has unequivocally demonstrated that this terrain is full of land mines and approaching it is especially perilous if we imagine ourselves to be witnessing the clash of “good” and “evil”. The text presents the case through the analysis of three relationships based on the following nodal points: a) summary of the main components of the event  and of the main views and passions that surfaced in the ensuing controversy; b) the question of the relationship of the urban landscape and identity; and c) the problematic of exerting control over meaning and taste.

How to Cite

Fejos, Z., (2000) “Coca-Cola and the Chain Bridge of Budapest”, Ethnologia Europaea 30(1), 15-30. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Zoltán Fejos (Museum of Ethnography, Budapest)



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