also selling a brand which is intangible but clearly valuable to many people
For Coke, the brand is about the associations of flavor and the positive experiences you've had drinking the product which really had nothing to do with the product. Also quality... if you drink it, there isn't bad crap in the bottle. But come on, when you get down to it the whole brand thing can get really overblown with nonsense.
Marketing may not be all lies, but if a brand is mostly about sentiment and not reality, the marketer rarely makes it LESS sentimental. So put your brain in neutral and believe what we tell you.