|Manufacturer||The Coca-Cola Company|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Flavor||Cola, Cola Cherry, Cola Vanilla, Cola Green Tea, Cola Lemon, Cola Lemon Lime, Cola Lime, Cola Orange and Cola Raspberry.|
|Variants||See Brand portfolio section below|
Zam Zam Cola
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines throughout the world. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke (a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company in the United States since March 27, 1944). Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century.
The company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold territorially exclusive contracts with the company, produce finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. The bottlers then sell, distribute and merchandise Coca-Cola to retail stores and vending machines. The Coca-Cola Company also sells concentrate for soda fountains to major restaurants and food service distributors.
The Coca-Cola Company has, on occasion, introduced other cola drinks under the Coke brand name. The most common of these is Diet Coke, with others including Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and special versions with lemon, lime or coffee. In 2013, Coke products could be found in over 200 countries worldwide, with consumers downing more than 1.8 billion company beverage servings each day.
- 1 History
- 2 Production
- 3 Geographic spread
- 4 Brand portfolio
- 5 Competitors
- 6 Advertising
- 7 Criticism
- 8 Use as political and corporate symbol
- 9 Social causes
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
19th century historical origins
Colonel John Pemberton was wounded in the Civil War, became addicted to morphine, and began a quest to find a substitute for the dangerous opiate. The prototype Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at Pemberton's Eagle Drug and Chemical House, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgia, originally as a coca wine. He may have been inspired by the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a European coca wine.
In 1885, Pemberton registered his French Wine Coca nerve tonic. In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, essentially a nonalcoholic version of French Wine Coca. The first sales were at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health. Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence. Pemberton ran the first advertisement for the beverage on May 29 of the same year in the Atlanta Journal.
By 1888, three versions of Coca-Cola – sold by three separate businesses – were on the market. A copartnership had been formed on January 14, 1888 between Pemberton and four Atlanta businessmen: J.C. Mayfield, A.O. Murphey; C.O. Mullahy and E.H. Bloodworth. Not codified by any signed document, a verbal statement given by Asa Candler years later asserted under testimony that he had acquired a stake in Pemberton's company as early as 1887. John Pemberton declared that the name "Coca-Cola" belonged to his son, Charley, but the other two manufacturers could continue to use the formula.
Charley Pemberton's record of control over the "Coca-Cola" name was the underlying factor that allowed for him to participate as a major shareholder in the March 1888 Coca-Cola Company incorporation filing made in his father's place. Charley's exclusive control over the "Coca Cola" name became a continual thorn in Asa Candler's side. Candler's oldest son, Charles Howard Candler, authored a book in 1950 published by Emory University. In this definitive biography about his father, Candler specifically states: "..., on April 14, 1888, the young druggist [Asa Griggs Candler] purchased a one-third interest in the formula of an almost completely unknown proprietary elixir known as Coca-Cola."
The deal was actually between John Pemberton's son Charley and Walker, Candler & Co. – with John Pemberton acting as cosigner for his son. For $50 down and $500 in 30 days, Walker, Candler & Co. obtained all of the one-third interest in the Coca-Cola Company that Charley held, all while Charley still held on to the name. After the April 14 deal, on April 17, 1888, one-half of the Walker/Dozier interest shares were acquired by Candler for an additional $750.
The Coca-Cola Company
In 1892, Candler set out to incorporate a second company; "The Coca-Cola Company" (the current corporation). When Candler had the earliest records of the "Coca-Cola Company" burned in 1910, the action was claimed to have been made during a move to new corporation offices around this time.
After Candler had gained a better foothold on Coca-Cola in April 1888, he nevertheless was forced to sell the beverage he produced with the recipe he had under the names "Yum Yum" and "Koke". This was while Charley Pemberton was selling the elixir, although a cruder mixture, under the name "Coca-Cola", all with his father's blessing. After both names failed to catch on for Candler, by the summer of 1888, the Atlanta pharmacist was quite anxious to establish a firmer legal claim to Coca-Cola, and hoped he could force his two competitors, Walker and Dozier, completely out of the business, as well.
When Dr. John Stith Pemberton suddenly died on August 16, 1888, Asa G. Candler now sought to move swiftly forward to attain his vision of taking full control of the whole Coca-Cola operation.
Charley Pemberton, an alcoholic, was the one obstacle who unnerved Asa Candler more than anyone else. Candler is said to have quickly maneuvered to purchase the exclusive rights to the name "Coca-Cola" from Pemberton's son Charley right after Dr. Pemberton's death. One of several stories was that Candler bought the title to the name from Charley's mother for $300; approaching her at Dr. Pemberton's funeral. Eventually, Charley Pemberton was found on June 23, 1894, unconscious, with a stick of opium by his side. Ten days later, Charley died at Atlanta's Grady Hospital at the age of 40.
In Charles Howard Candler's 1950 book about his father, he stated: "On August 30th , he [Asa Candler] became sole proprietor of Coca-Cola, a fact which was stated on letterheads, invoice blanks and advertising copy."
With this action on August 30, 1888, Candler's sole control became technically all true. Candler had negotiated with Margaret Dozier and her brother Woolfolk Walker a full payment amounting to $1,000, which all agreed Candler could pay off with a series of notes over a specified time span. By May 1, 1889, Candler was now claiming full ownership of the Coca-Cola beverage, with a total investment outlay by Candler for the drink enterprise over the years amounting to $2,300.
In 1914, Margaret Dozier, as co-owner of the original Coca-Cola Company in 1888, came forward to claim that her signature on the 1888 Coca-Cola Company bill of sale had been forged. Subsequent analysis of certain similar transfer documents had also indicated John Pemberton's signature was most likely a forgery, as well, which some accounts claim was precipitated by his son Charley.
Origins of bottling
The first bottling of Coca-Cola occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi, at the Biedenharn Candy Company in 1891. The proprietor of the bottling works was Joseph A. Biedenharn. The original bottles were Biedenharn bottles, very different from the much later hobble-skirt design of 1915 now so familiar.
It was then a few years later that two entrepreneurs from Chattanooga, Tennessee, namely; Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead, proposed the idea of bottling and were so persuasive that Candler signed a contract giving them control of the procedure for only one dollar. Candler never collected his dollar, but in 1899, Chattanooga became the site of the first Coca-Cola bottling company. Candler remained very content just selling his company's syrup. The loosely termed contract proved to be problematic for The Coca-Cola Company for decades to come. Legal matters were not helped by the decision of the bottlers to subcontract to other companies, effectively becoming parent bottlers.
The first outdoor wall advertisement that promoted the Coca-Cola drink was painted in 1894 in Cartersville, Georgia. Cola syrup was sold as an over-the-counter dietary supplement for upset stomach. By the time of its 50th anniversary, the soft drink had reached the status of a national icon in the USA. In 1935, it was certified kosher by Atlanta Rabbi Tobias Geffen, after the company made minor changes in the sourcing of some ingredients.
The longest running commercial Coca-Cola soda fountain anywhere was Atlanta's Fleeman's Pharmacy, which first opened its doors in 1914. Jack Fleeman took over the pharmacy from his father and ran it until 1995; closing it after 81 years. On July 12, 1944, the one-billionth gallon of Coca-Cola syrup was manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Cans of Coke first appeared in 1955.
On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola, amid much publicity, attempted to change the formula of the drink with "New Coke". Follow-up taste tests revealed most consumers preferred the taste of New Coke to both Coke and Pepsi but Coca-Cola management was unprepared for the public's nostalgia for the old drink, leading to a backlash. The company gave in to protests and returned to a variation of the old formula using high fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar as the main sweetener, under the name Coca-Cola Classic, on July 10, 1985.
In April 2007, in Canada, the name "Coca-Cola Classic" was changed back to "Coca-Cola". The word "Classic" was removed because "New Coke" was no longer in production, eliminating the need to differentiate between the two. The formula remained unchanged. In January 2009, Coca-Cola stopped printing the word "Classic" on the labels of 16-US-fluid-ounce (470 ml) bottles sold in parts of the southeastern United States. The change is part of a larger strategy to rejuvenate the product's image. The word "Classic" was removed from all Coca-Cola products by 2011.
In November 2009, due to a dispute over wholesale prices of Coca-Cola products, Costco stopped restocking its shelves with Coke and Diet Coke. However, some Costco locations (such as the ones in Tucson, Arizona), sell imported Coca-Cola from Mexico. Coca-Cola introduced the 7.5-ounce mini-can in 2009, and on September 22, 2011, the company announced price reductions, asking retailers to sell eight-packs for $2.99. That same day, Coca-Cola announced the 12.5-ounce bottle, to sell for 89 cents. A 16-ounce bottle has sold well at 99 cents since being re-introduced, but the price was going up to $1.19.
In 2012, Coca-Cola resumed business in Myanmar after 60 years of absence due to U.S.-imposed investment sanctions against the country. Coca-Cola's bottling plant will be located in Yangon and is part of the company's five-year plan and $200 million investment in Myanmar. Coca-Cola with its partners is to invest USD 5 billion in its operations in India by 2020. In 2013, it was announced that Coca-Cola Life would be introduced in Argentina that would contain stevia and sugar.
In August 2014 the company announced it was forming a long-term partnership with Monster Beverage, with the two forging a strategic marketing and distribution alliance, and product line swap. As part of the deal Coca-Cola was to acquire a 16.7% stake in Monster for $2.15 billion, with an option to increase it to 25%.
- Carbonated water
- Sugar (sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup depending on country of origin)
- Phosphoric acid
- Caramel color (E150d)
- Natural flavorings
Formula of natural flavorings
The exact formula of Coca-Cola's natural flavorings (but not its other ingredients, which are listed on the side of the bottle or can) is a trade secret. The original copy of the formula was held in SunTrust Bank's main vault in Atlanta for 86 years. Its predecessor, the Trust Company, was the underwriter for the Coca-Cola Company's initial public offering in 1919. On December 8, 2011, the original secret formula was moved from the vault at SunTrust Banks to a new vault containing the formula which will be on display for visitors to its World of Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta.
According to Snopes, a popular myth states that only two executives have access to the formula, with each executive having only half the formula. However, several sources state that while Coca-Cola does have a rule restricting access to only two executives, each knows the entire formula and others, in addition to the prescribed duo, have known the formulation process.
On February 11, 2011, Ira Glass revealed on his PRI radio show, This American Life, that the secret formula to Coca-Cola had been uncovered in a 1979 newspaper. The formula found basically matched the formula found in Pemberton's diary.
Use of stimulants in formula
When launched, Coca-Cola's two key ingredients were cocaine and caffeine. The cocaine was derived from the coca leaf and the caffeine from kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola (the "K" in Kola was replaced with a "C" for marketing purposes).
Coca – cocaine
Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose; in 1891, Candler claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton's original) contained only a tenth of this amount. Coca-Cola once contained an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass. In 1903, it was removed.
After 1904, instead of using fresh leaves, Coca-Cola started using "spent" leaves – the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with trace levels of cocaine. Coca-Cola now uses a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey.
In the United States, the Stepan Company is the only manufacturing plant authorized by the Federal Government to import and process the coca plant, which it obtains mainly from Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. Besides producing the coca flavoring agent for Coca-Cola, the Stepan Company extracts cocaine from the coca leaves, which it sells to Mallinckrodt, a St. Louis, Missouri, pharmaceutical manufacturer that is the only company in the United States licensed to purify cocaine for medicinal use.
Kola nuts – caffeine
Kola nuts act as a flavoring and the source of caffeine in Coca-Cola. In Britain, for example, the ingredient label states "Flavourings (Including Caffeine)." Kola nuts contain about 2.0 to 3.5% caffeine, are of bitter flavor and are commonly used in cola soft drinks. In 1911, the U.S. government initiated United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, hoping to force Coca-Cola to remove caffeine from its formula. The case was decided in favor of Coca-Cola. Subsequently, in 1912, the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act was amended, adding caffeine to the list of "habit-forming" and "deleterious" substances which must be listed on a product's label.
Coca-Cola contains 34 mg of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces (9.8 mg per 100 ml).
Franchised production model
The actual production and distribution of Coca-Cola follows a franchising model. The Coca-Cola Company only produces a syrup concentrate, which it sells to bottlers throughout the world, who hold Coca-Cola franchises for one or more geographical areas. The bottlers produce the final drink by mixing the syrup with filtered water and sweeteners, and then carbonate it before putting it in cans and bottles, which the bottlers then sell and distribute to retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors.
The Coca-Cola Company owns minority shares in some of its largest franchises, such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company and Coca-Cola FEMSA, but fully independent bottlers produce almost half of the volume sold in the world. Independent bottlers are allowed to sweeten the drink according to local tastes.
Since it announced its intention to begin distribution in Burma in June 2012, Coca-Cola has been officially available in every country in the world except Cuba and North Korea. However, it is reported to be available in both countries as a grey import.
Coca-Cola has been a point of legal discussion in the Middle East. In the early 20th century, a fatwa was created in Egypt to discuss the question of "whether Muslims were permitted to drink Coca-Cola and Pepsi cola." The fatwa states: "According to the Muslim Hanefite, Shafi'ite, etc., the rule in Islamic law of forbidding or allowing foods and beverages is based on the presumption that such things are permitted unless it can be shown that they are forbidden on the basis of the Qur'an." The Muslim jurists stated that, unless the Qu'ran specifically prohibits the consumption of a particular product, it is permissible to consume. Another clause was discussed, whereby the same rules apply if a person is unaware of the condition or ingredients of the item in question.
This is a list of variants of Coca-Cola introduced around the world. In addition to the caffeine-free version of the original, additional fruit flavors have been included over the years. Not included here are versions of Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero; variant versions of those no-calorie colas can be found at their respective articles.
|Coca-Cola||1886||The original version of Coca-Cola.|
|Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola||1983||The caffeine free version of Coca-Cola.|
|Coca-Cola Cherry||1985||Was available in Canada starting in 1996. Called "Cherry Coca-Cola (Cherry Coke)" in North America until 2006.|
|New Coke/"Coca-Cola II"||1985||2002||Was still available in Yap and American Samoa|
|Coca-Cola with Lemon||2001||2005||Available in:
Australia, American Samoa, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Korea, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Réunion, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, and West Bank-Gaza
|Coca-Cola Vanilla||2002; 2007; 2013||2005;||Available in: Austria, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia, Slovakia, South-Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. It was reintroduced in June 2007 by popular demand.|
|Coca-Cola with Lime||2005||Available in Belgium, Netherlands, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.|
|Coca-Cola Raspberry||June 2005||End of 2005||Was only available in New Zealand. Currently available in the United States in Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain since 2009.|
|Coca-Cola Black Cherry Vanilla||2006||Middle of 2007||Was replaced by Vanilla Coke in June 2007|
|Coca-Cola Blāk||2006||Beginning of 2008||Only available in the United States, France, Canada, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Lithuania|
|Coca-Cola Citra||2006||Only available in Bosnia and Herzegovina, New Zealand and Japan.|
|Coca-Cola Orange||2007||Was available in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar for a limited time. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland it's sold under the label Mezzo Mix. Currently available in Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain outlets in the United States since 2009.|
|Coca-Cola Life||2013||Currently available in Argentina, Chile, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, and Sweden.|
The Coca-Cola logo was created by John Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, in 1885. Robinson came up with the name and chose the logo's distinctive cursive script. The typeface used, known as Spencerian script, was developed in the mid-19th century and was the dominant form of formal handwriting in the United States during that period.
Robinson also played a significant role in early Coca-Cola advertising. His promotional suggestions to Pemberton included giving away thousands of free drink coupons and plastering the city of Atlanta with publicity banners and streetcar signs.
Contour bottle design
The Coca-Cola bottle, called the "contour bottle" within the company, was created by bottle designer Earl R. Dean. In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for their beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles, "a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was."
Chapman J. Root, president of the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, turned the project over to members of his supervisory staff, including company auditor T. Clyde Edwards, plant superintendent Alexander Samuelsson, and Earl R. Dean, bottle designer and supervisor of the bottle molding room. Root and his subordinates decided to base the bottle's design on one of the soda's two ingredients, the coca leaf or the kola nut, but were unaware of what either ingredient looked like. Dean and Edwards went to the Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library and were unable to find any information about coca or kola. Instead, Dean was inspired by a picture of the gourd-shaped cocoa pod in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Dean made a rough sketch of the pod and returned to the plant to show Root. He explained to Root how he could transform the shape of the pod into a bottle. Root gave Dean his approval.
Faced with the upcoming scheduled maintenance of the mold-making machinery, over the next 24 hours Dean sketched out a concept drawing which was approved by Root the next morning. Dean then proceeded to create a bottle mold and produced a small number of bottles before the glass-molding machinery was turned off.
Chapman Root approved the prototype bottle and a design patent was issued on the bottle in November 1915. The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts. Dean resolved this issue by decreasing the bottle's middle diameter. During the 1916 bottler's convention, Dean's contour bottle was chosen over other entries and was on the market the same year. By 1920, the contour bottle became the standard for the Coca-Cola Company. Today, the contour Coca-Cola bottle is one of the most recognized packages on the planet..."even in the dark!".
As a reward for his efforts, Dean was offered a choice between a $500 bonus or a lifetime job at the Root Glass Company. He chose the lifetime job and kept it until the Owens-Illinois Glass Company bought out the Root Glass Company in the mid-1930s. Dean went on to work in other Midwestern glass factories.
One alternative depiction has Raymond Loewy as the inventor of the unique design, but, while Loewy did serve as a designer of Coke cans and bottles in later years, he was in the French Army the year the bottle was invented and did not emigrate to the United States until 1919. Others have attributed inspiration for the design not to the cocoa pod, but to a Victorian hooped dress.
In 1944, Associate Justice Roger J. Traynor of the Supreme Court of California took advantage of a case involving a waitress injured by an exploding Coca-Cola bottle to articulate the doctrine of strict liability for defective products. Traynor's concurring opinion in Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is widely recognized as a landmark case in U.S. law today.
In 2007, the company's logo on cans and bottles changed. The cans and bottles retained the red color and familiar typeface, but the design was simplified, leaving only the logo and a plain white swirl (the "dynamic ribbon").
Earl R. Dean's original 1915 concept drawing of the contour Coca-Cola bottle
The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts.
Karl Lagerfeld is the latest designer to have created a collection of aluminum bottles for Coca-Cola. Lagerfeld is not the first fashion designer to create a special version of the famous Coca-Cola Contour bottle. A number of other limited edition bottles by fashion designers for Coca Cola Light soda have been created in the last few years.
In 2009, in Italy, Coca-Cola Light had a Tribute to Fashion to celebrate 100 years of the recognizable contour bottle. Well known Italian designers Alberta Ferretti, Blumarine, Etro, Fendi, Marni, Missoni, Moschino, and Versace each designed limited edition bottles.
Pepsi, the flagship product of PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company's main rival in the soft drink industry, is usually second to Coke in sales, and outsells Coca-Cola in some markets. RC Cola, now owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the third largest soft drink manufacturer, is also widely available.
Around the world, many local brands compete with Coke. In South and Central America Kola Real, known as Big Cola in Mexico, is a growing competitor to Coca-Cola. On the French island of Corsica, Corsica Cola, made by brewers of the local Pietra beer, is a growing competitor to Coca-Cola. In the French region of Brittany, Breizh Cola is available. In Peru, Inca Kola outsells Coca-Cola, which led The Coca-Cola Company to purchase the brand in 1999. In Sweden, Julmust outsells Coca-Cola during the Christmas season. In Scotland, the locally produced Irn-Bru was more popular than Coca-Cola until 2005, when Coca-Cola and Diet Coke began to outpace its sales.
In India, Coca-Cola ranked third behind the leader, Pepsi-Cola, and local drink Thums Up. The Coca-Cola Company purchased Thums Up in 1993. As of 2004, Coca-Cola held a 60.9% market-share in India. Tropicola, a domestic drink, is served in Cuba instead of Coca-Cola, due to a United States embargo. French brand Mecca Cola and British brand Qibla Cola are competitors to Coca-Cola in the Middle East.
In Turkey, Cola Turka, in Iran and the Middle East, Zam Zam Cola and Parsi Cola, in some parts of China, China Cola, in Slovenia, Cockta and the inexpensive Mercator Cola, sold only in the country's biggest supermarket chain, Mercator, are some of the brand's competitors. Classiko Cola, made by Tiko Group, the largest manufacturing company in Madagascar, is a serious competitor to Coca-Cola in many regions. Laranjada is the top-selling soft drink on Madeira.
Coca-Cola's advertising has significantly affected American culture, and it is frequently credited with inventing the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in a red-and-white suit. Although the company did start using the red-and-white Santa image in the 1930s, with its winter advertising campaigns illustrated by Haddon Sundblom, the motif was already common. Coca-Cola was not even the first soft drink company to use the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising: White Rock Beverages used Santa in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923, after first using him to sell mineral water in 1915. Before Santa Claus, Coca-Cola relied on images of smartly dressed young women to sell its beverages. Coca-Cola's first such advertisement appeared in 1895, featuring the young Bostonian actress Hilda Clark as its spokeswoman.
1941 saw the first use of the nickname "Coke" as an official trademark for the product, with a series of advertisements informing consumers that "Coke means Coca-Cola". In 1971 a song from a Coca-Cola commercial called "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", produced by Billy Davis, became a hit single.
Coke's advertising is pervasive, as one of Woodruff's stated goals was to ensure that everyone on Earth drank Coca-Cola as their preferred beverage. This is especially true in southern areas of the United States, such as Atlanta, where Coke was born.
Some Coca-Cola television commercials between 1960 through 1986 were written and produced by former Atlanta radio veteran Don Naylor (WGST 1936–1950, WAGA 1951–1959) during his career as a producer for the McCann Erickson advertising agency. Many of these early television commercials for Coca-Cola featured movie stars, sports heroes and popular singers.
During the 1980s, Pepsi-Cola ran a series of television advertisements showing people participating in taste tests demonstrating that, according to the commercials, "fifty percent of the participants who said they preferred Coke actually chose the Pepsi." Statisticians pointed out the problematic nature of a 50/50 result: most likely, the taste tests showed that in blind tests, most people cannot tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke. Coca-Cola ran ads to combat Pepsi's ads in an incident sometimes referred to as the cola wars; one of Coke's ads compared the so-called Pepsi challenge to two chimpanzees deciding which tennis ball was furrier. Thereafter, Coca-Cola regained its leadership in the market.
Selena was a spokesperson for Coca-Cola from 1989 till the time of her death. She filmed three commercials for the company. During 1994, to commemorate her five years with the company, Coca-Cola issued special Selena coke bottles.
The Coca-Cola Company purchased Columbia Pictures in 1982, and began inserting Coke-product images into many of its films. After a few early successes during Coca-Cola's ownership, Columbia began to under-perform, and the studio was sold to Sony in 1989.
Coca-Cola has gone through a number of different advertising slogans in its long history, including "The pause that refreshes," "I'd like to buy the world a Coke," and "Coke is it" (see Coca-Cola slogans).
In 2006, Coca-Cola introduced My Coke Rewards, a customer loyalty campaign where consumers earn points by entering codes from specially marked packages of Coca-Cola products into a website. These points can be redeemed for various prizes or sweepstakes entries.
In Australia in 2011, Coca-Cola began the "share a Coke" campaign, where the Coca-Cola logo was replaced on the bottles and replaced with first names. Coca-Cola used the 150 most popular names in Australia to print on the bottles. The campaign was paired with a website page, Facebook page and an online "share a virtual Coke". The same campaign was introduced to Coca-Cola, Diet Coke & Coke Zero bottles and cans in the UK in 2013.
The "Holidays are coming!" advertisement features a train of red delivery trucks, emblazoned with the Coca-Cola name and decorated with Christmas lights, driving through a snowy landscape and causing everything that they pass to light up and people to watch as they pass through.
The advertisement fell into disuse in 2001, as the Coca-Cola company restructured its advertising campaigns so that advertising around the world was produced locally in each country, rather than centrally in the company's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, the company brought back the campaign after, according to the company, many consumers telephoned its information center saying that they considered it to mark the beginning of Christmas. The advertisement was created by U.S. advertising agency Doner, and has been part of the company's global advertising campaign for many years.
Keith Law, a producer and writer of commercials for Belfast CityBeat, was not convinced by Coca-Cola's reintroduction of the advertisement in 2007, saying that "I don't think there's anything Christmassy about HGVs and the commercial is too generic."
In 2001, singer Melanie Thornton recorded the campaign's advertising jingle as a single, Wonderful Dream (Holidays are Coming), which entered the pop-music charts in Germany at no. 9. In 2005, Coca-Cola expanded the advertising campaign to radio, employing several variations of the jingle.
Coca-Cola was the first commercial sponsor of the Olympic games, at the 1928 games in Amsterdam, and has been an Olympics sponsor ever since. This corporate sponsorship included the 1996 Summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta, which allowed Coca-Cola to spotlight its hometown. Most recently, Coca-Cola has released localized commercials for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver; one Canadian commercial referred to Canada's hockey heritage and was modified after Canada won the gold medal game on February 28, 2010 by changing the ending line of the commercial to say "Now they know whose game they're playing".
Since 1978, Coca-Cola has sponsored the FIFA World Cup, and other competitions organised by FIFA. One FIFA tournament trophy, the FIFA World Youth Championship from Tunisia in 1977 to Malaysia in 1997, was called "FIFA — Coca Cola Cup". In addition, Coca-Cola sponsors the annual Coca-Cola 600 and Coke Zero 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida.
Coca-Cola has a long history of sports marketing relationships, which over the years have included Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League, as well as with many teams within those leagues. Coca-Cola has had a longtime relationship with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, due in part to the now-famous 1979 television commercial featuring "Mean Joe" Greene, leading to the two opening the Coca-Cola Great Hall at Heinz Field in 2001 and a more recent Coca-Cola Zero commercial featuring Troy Polamalu.
Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of many collegiate football teams throughout the nation, partly due to Coca-Cola providing those schools with upgraded athletic facilities in exchange for Coca-Cola's sponsorship. This is especially prevalent at the high school level, which is more dependent on such contracts due to tighter budgets.
In England, Coca-Cola was the main sponsor of The Football League between 2004 and 2010, a name given to the three professional divisions below the Premier League in football (soccer). In 2005, Coca-Cola launched a competition for the 72 clubs of the football league — it was called "Win a Player". This allowed fans to place one vote per day for their favorite club, with one entry being chosen at random earning £250,000 for the club; this was repeated in 2006. The "Win A Player" competition was very controversial, as at the end of the 2 competitions, Leeds United A.F.C. had the most votes by more than double, yet they did not win any money to spend on a new player for the club. In 2007, the competition changed to "Buy a Player". This competition allowed fans to buy a bottle of Coca-Cola or Coca-Cola Zero and submit the code on the wrapper on the Coca-Cola website. This code could then earn anything from 50p to £100,000 for a club of their choice. This competition was favored over the old "Win a Player" competition, as it allowed all clubs to win some money. Between 1992 and 1998, Coca-Cola was the title sponsor of the Football League Cup (Coca-Cola Cup), the secondary cup tournament of England.
Between 1994 and 1997, Coca-Cola was also the title sponsor of the Scottish League Cup, renaming it the Coca-Cola Cup like its English counterpart.
In 2012, Coca-Cola (Philippines) hosted/sponsored the Coca-Cola PBA Youngstars in the Philippines.
In mass media
Coca-Cola has been prominently featured in countless films and television programs. Since its creation, it remains as one of the most important elements of the popular culture. It was a major plot element in films such as One, Two, Three, The Coca-Cola Kid, and The Gods Must Be Crazy among many others. It provides a setting for comical corporate shenanigans in the novel Syrup by Maxx Barry. And in music, in the Beatles' song, "Come Together", the lyrics said, "He shoot Coca-Cola, he say...". The Beach Boys also referenced Coca-Cola in their 1964 song "All Summer Long" (i.e. 'Member when you spilled Coke all over your blouse?)
Also, the best selling artist of all time and worldwide cultural icon, Elvis Presley, promoted Coca-Cola during his last tour of 1977. The Coca-Cola Company used Elvis' image to promote the product. For example, the company used a song performed by Presley, A Little Less Conversation, in a Japanese Coca-Cola commercial.
Other artists that promoted Coca-Cola include the Beatles, David Bowie, George Michael, Elton John and Whitney Houston, who appeared in the Diet Coca-Cola commercial, among many others.
Not all musical references to Coca-Cola went well. A line in "Lola" by the Kinks was originally recorded as "You drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola." When the British Broadcasting Corporation refused to play the song because of the commercial reference, lead singer Ray Davies was forced to fly from New York to London and re-record the lyric as "it tastes just like cherry cola" to get airplay for the song.
Political cartoonist Michel Kichka satirized a Coca-Cola billboard in his 1982 poster "And I Love New York." On the billboard, the lettering and script above the Coca-Cola wave read "Enjoy Cocaine."
Coca-Cola has been criticized for alleged adverse health effects, its aggressive marketing to children, exploitative labor practices, high levels of pesticides in its products, building plants in Nazi Germany which employed slave labor, environmental destruction, monopolistic business practices, and hiring paramilitary units to murder trade union leaders. In October 2009, in an effort to improve their image, Coca-Cola partnered with the American Academy of Family Physicians, providing a $500,000 grant to help promote healthy-lifestyle education; the partnership spawned sharp criticism of both Coca-Cola and the AAFP by physicians and nutritionists.[better source needed]
The quest to make a difference in revitalizing rural and semi-urban schools led to formation of the partnership among NDTV, Coca-Cola and UN-Habitat. The partnership took the shape of the campaign “Support My School” in January 2011. The campaign was designed to channelize strengths of the partners and come up with a model of healthy active schools across the country. There is a contradiction associated with the inclusion of the term ‘healthy and active schools’ in the agenda, as the main sponsor Coca-Cola or any bottled aerated drink for that matter, has been declared unfit for consumption on numerous occasions through studies conducted over the years. Coca-Cola in particular has been in the midst of a raging controversy for being high on acidity and calories.
Studies indicate "soda and sweetened drinks are the main source of calories in [the] American diet", so most nutritionists advise that Coca-Cola and other soft drinks can be harmful if consumed excessively, particularly to young children whose soft drink consumption competes with, rather than complements, a balanced diet. Studies have shown that regular soft drink users have a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin A. The drink has also aroused criticism for its use of caffeine, which can cause physical dependence (caffeine addiction). A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men). This was thought to be due to the presence of phosphoric acid, and the risk was found to be same for caffeinated and noncaffeinated colas, as well as the same for diet and sugared colas.
A common criticism of Coke based on its allegedly toxic acidity levels has been found to be baseless by researchers; lawsuits based on these notions have been dismissed by several American courts for this reason. Although numerous court cases have been filed against The Coca-Cola Company since the 1920s, alleging that the acidity of the drink is dangerous, multiple sources could find no evidence corroborating this claim. Under normal conditions, multiple sources of scientific evidence indicate Coca-Cola's acidity causes no immediate harm.[better source needed]
Since 1980 in the U.S., Coke has been made with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as an ingredient. Originally, it was used in combination with more expensive cane sugar, but by late 1984 the formulation was sweetened entirely with HFCS. Some nutritionists caution against consumption of HFCS because it may aggravate obesity and type-2 diabetes more than cane sugar.
In India, there is a controversy whether there are pesticides and other harmful chemicals in bottled products, including Coca-Cola. In 2003 the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a non-governmental organization in New Delhi, said aerated waters produced by soft drinks manufacturers in India, including multinational giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, contained toxins including lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos — pesticides that can contribute to cancer and a breakdown of the immune system. CSE found that the Indian-produced Pepsi's soft drink products had 36 times the level of pesticide residues permitted under European Union regulations; Coca-Cola's soft drink was found to have 30 times the permitted amount. CSE said it had tested the same products sold in the U.S. and found no such residues.
After the pesticide allegations were made in 2003, Coca-Cola sales in India declined by 15 percent. In 2004 an Indian parliamentary committee backed up CSE's findings and a government-appointed committee was tasked with developing the world's first pesticide standards for soft drinks. The Coca-Cola Company has responded that its plants filter water to remove potential contaminants and that its products are tested for pesticides and must meet minimum health standards before they are distributed. In the Indian state of Kerala sale and production of Coca-Cola, along with other soft drinks, was initially banned after the allegations, until the High Court in Kerala overturned ruled that only the federal government can ban food products. Coca-Cola has also been accused of excessive water usage in India.
The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize (a parody of the Nobel Prizes) in Chemistry was awarded to Sheree Umpierre, Joseph Hill, and Deborah Anderson, for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and to C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang for proving it is not.
Coca Cola has been implicated in certain allergic reactions. In a case study in Switzerland, a woman who was allergic to Balsam of Peru was allergic to her boyfriend's semen following intercourse, after he drank large amounts of Coca Cola.
Use as political and corporate symbol
Coca-Cola has a high degree of identification with the United States, being considered by some an "American Brand" or as an item representing America. During World War II, this gave rise to brief production of the White Coke as a neutral brand. The identification with the spread of American culture has led to the pun "Coca-Colanization". The drink is also often a metonym for the Coca-Cola Company.
There are some consumer boycotts of Coca-Cola in Arab countries due to Coke's early investment in Israel during the Arab League boycott of Israel (its competitor Pepsi stayed out of Israel). Mecca Cola and Pepsi have been successful[vague] alternatives in the Middle East.
A Coca-Cola fountain dispenser (officially a Fluids Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus-2 or FGBA-2) was developed for use on the Space Shuttle as a test bed to determine if carbonated beverages can be produced from separately stored carbon dioxide, water and flavored syrups and determine if the resulting fluids can be made available for consumption without bubble nucleation and resulting foam formation. The unit flew in 1996 aboard STS-77 and held 1.65 liters each of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke.
In 2012, Coca-Cola is listed as a partner of the (RED) campaign, together with other brands such as Nike, Girl, American Express and Converse. The campaign's mission is to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child by 2015 (the campaign's byline is "Fighting For An AIDS Free Generation").
- Coca Colla
- List of Coca-Cola brands
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- Isdell, Neville. Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO’s Life Story of Building the World’s Most Popular Brand. With the assistance of David Beasley. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coca-Cola.|
- Official website
- Kinescope of a live 1954 TV commercial for Coca-Cola (Internet Archive)
- Coca-Cola Advertising History
- Coca-Cola: Refreshing Memories — slideshow by Life magazine
- China Advisory: Avoiding the Wax Tadpole – Effective Chinese Language Trademark Strategy Chinese language trademark for Coca-Cola