Meanwhile, Coca-Cola and Pepsi officials are scrambling to undo P.R. and ecological damage caused by the painting of soft drink logos on rocks along a 50-km stretch of the beautiful Manali-Rohtang Pass in the Indian Himalayas. India's Supreme Court demanded to know why someone thought it was clever to use scenic boulders as billboards. Company representatives said they knew nothing of the graffiti, blaming local franchisees instead. Now the companies are trying to decide how to remove the paint without doing further harm to the delicate mosses that cling to the rocks. We hear colas will strip paint off just about anything.
Indian consumers are used to bombardment by splashy, sometimes cheeky advertisements, but tolerance has its limits. Citizens were outraged by the latest newspaper ad for Cadbury's chocolate, featuring a map of India with the state of Jammu and Kashmir—including disputed regions claimed by both India and Pakistan—stamped with the slogan "too good to share." Politicians condemned the campaign for trivializing a sensitive conflict that has cost thousands of lives and keeps the two nuclear-armed countries on the brink of war. "It just shows how multinationals will exploit anything for commercial purposes," complained Vinod Tawde, Bombay branch leader of India's ruling party. Cadbury's India Ltd. hurriedly apologized, saying it had "no intention whatsoever to offend the sentiments of the public."