Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cola War in Bangkok

I'll bet even Michael Phelps doesn't have this happening.

Soft drinks giants Coke and Pepsi are slugging it out for supremacy outside the home of Thai Olympic boxing hopeful Worapoj Phetkum.....

PepsiCo's local distributor made the first move, erecting promotional tents at the police sergeant's home in the southern province of Surat Thani......

Coca-Cola's Thai agents quickly countered, offering the boxer's father, Thaweep, a deal -- on condition the Pepsi tents were removed.

It was settled amicably.

In a typically Thai compromise, both companies have been allowed to stay, providing they behave themselves. "If they make problems, both will have to leave," Thaweep said.

He won his first fight, incidentally. This is a another example of how a successful athlete from a small-time Olympic program can become a really big deal back home. I recall a swimmer from a small South American country who won a gold medal at a past Olympics....googling.... Anthony Nesty of Suriname at Seoul in 1988. He was flown home on the presidential jet and commemorated on a stamp and on gold and silver coins, and a bank note with a swimmer's picture was printed in his honor. Phelps will get serious publicity and endorsement deals, but I'm guessing the U.S. Mint won't be cranking out $5 bills with his likeness.

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