Dispatches (1987– )
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Mark Thomas on Coca-Cola 

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas reports on how Coca-Cola has caused problems in the world with pollution, worker exploitation and even death. The documentary also reports on how Coca-Cola respond to these allegations.


Sarah MacDonald


Mark Thomas


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Episode credited cast:
Mark Thomas Mark Thomas ... Himself - Presenter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tim Beaty Tim Beaty ... Himself - Director of Global Strategies, Teamster Union
Rene Canjura Rene Canjura ... Himself
Luis Eduardo Garcia Luis Eduardo Garcia ... Himself - Coca-Cola FEMSA Employee
Efrain Guerrero Efrain Guerrero ... Himself - Coca-Cola FEMSA Employee
Russell Keast Russell Keast ... Himself (as Dr Russell Keast)
Aamir Khan ... Himself (archive footage) (as Khan)
Joseph Lowery Joseph Lowery ... Himself - Civil Rights Campaigner (as Dr Joseph Lowery)
Daniel Martinez Daniel Martinez ... Himself - Former Chemical Engineer
Carlos Miranda Carlos Miranda ... Himself
P. Read Montague P. Read Montague ... Himself (as Read Montague)
Brian Price Brian Price ... Himself


Comedian and activist Mark Thomas reports on how Coca-Cola has caused problems in the world with pollution, worker exploitation and even death. The documentary also reports on how Coca-Cola respond to these allegations.

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Release Date:

November 2007 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

El Salvador See more »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


References Friends (1994) See more »


Somebody to Love
Written by Freddie Mercury
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User Reviews

An interesting documentary with Thomas in good form, mostly avoiding his usual failings
23 February 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Starting in the Atlanta headquarters of Coca-Cola, comedian and activist Mark Thomas explores how one of the biggest brands in the world has conducted itself historically and, more importantly, today. Touching on topics of child labour, worker rights, pollution and murder, Thomas finds that behind the glossy world portrayed by the $2billion advertising budget, things are not actually that great.

I've never been a massive fan of Mark Thomas because sometimes he is a bit too petty and obvious but recently I saw him do his stand-up on his campaign against UK legislation to curb protests and I found it an enjoyable and interesting night. As a result I found myself looking forward to his film on the activities on Coca-Cola. As an aside it also interested me because I had attended a meeting on sustainability organised by my own employer, where the main speaker had been a very senior member of Coke, discussing their actions within communities as best practice and positive. The film starts with Thomas secretly filming his tour guide in the Atlanta museum while he says inappropriate things (dismissing questions on the Third Reich with a comparison to Star Wars) and also trying to get the museum to accept a Coke advert within a Hitler youth booklet and I did fear the worst. Here we go, I thought, with the cheap shots against small people working for a living and I wondered if this is all he would do.

Fortunately, Thomas finishes with this technique very quickly and once he leaves Atlanta his approach is much better. From then on he simply films what he sees and adds his comments and "facts" to the footage. So we get to see many children cutting sugar cane, then follow the truck to a plant that supplies to Coke. We also hear about murder and pollution from those frustrated by Coke. In my head I did accept that this is not necessarily all Coke's fault but Thomas wisely does not put it all at Coke's door but rather asks what they are doing about it – and often gets no answer. This approach is better than being too jocular on the subject or scoring easy points because as a viewer it feels I am being respected to understand it myself without Thomas rubbing it into those who work low on the chain.

The film is fascinating as a result. Although I do not want to just accept it all as fact, it puts questions and significant doubts into my head over Coke's CSR and sustainability claims. Their PR massaged letter response, dismissing the claims totally and berating the producers for making the film is no response at all. Overall then an interesting and engaging film that is well delivered by Thomas. He gives up easy laughs to produce a real documentary that doesn't ram the answers down the viewer's throat but manages to pose questions that linger in the brain.

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