Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo. To circumvent this, Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace – the "leftovers of leftovers", as Keith later recalled. The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith's exhorting his team to "use their imagination" ("Fantasie" in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted "Fanta!"
The plant was effectively cut off from Coca Cola headquarters during the war. After the war, the Coca Cola corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product—as well as the plant profits made during the war.
Fanta was discontinued when the parent company was reunited with the German branch. Following the launch of several drinks by the Pepsi corporation in the 1950s, Coca Cola competed by relaunching Fanta in 1955. The drink was heavily marketed in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
Fanta is known for its upbeat advertising; in the United States, it showcases The Fantanas, a casted group of young female models, each of whom promotes an individual Fanta flavor. For the re-introduction of Fanta in the United States, Coca-Cola worked with the ad agency Ogilvy (NYC) in 2001. After a brainstorming session, the Ogilvy creative team of Andrea Scaglione, Andrew Ladden and Bill Davaris, created the tagline "Wanta Fanta!" which became the jingle for the Fantanas in the broadcast campaign. The campaign lasted from summer 2001, in the form of a successful trial run, to October 1, 2006. Three years later, in June 2009, Fanta re-launched the campaign. They also held a talent search to find the pineapple Fantana, and, in September selected Shakira Barrera to become the fourth Fantana. After Barrera won the search, she spent a year at her post, with the latter six months as an actual Fantana called Lily.
In India, Fanta entered the market as a substitute for the then-popular Indian soft drink Gold Spot. When Coca-Cola re-entered the Indian market in 1993, it bought Gold Spot from Parle and withdrew it from the market in order to make space for Fanta.
Fanta Shokata (labels upside down as part of the "turn the world upside down" ad campaign)
Fanta Orange Zero, sugar free version of Fanta Orange
There are over 90 different flavors worldwide. In Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and some other countries, there is "Fanta Shokata" (a wordplay between "soc" -elderberry in Romanian- and "shock") based on an elderflower blossom extract drink, traditional in Romania (where it is called Socată), Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and other Balkan countries. In Switzerland and the Netherlands, the blackcurrant is used to produce Fanta as well. Some identical flavors have different names in different markets.
The original formula of Orange Fanta, available in Germany, Austria, and other countries, is completely different from the drink marketed in the United States as Fanta Orange.
In Australia, there are Fanta Labs in many shopping malls. Fanta Lab provides 2 identical "Labs" where there is a set of water filter cups to the side and a touch screen, which shows the four available Australian flavors, Mango-Passionfruit, Orange, Grape, and Raspberry, and you can choose 4 flavors to be mixed. Therefore, you can mix 2 flavors twice, 3 flavors, 4 flavors, or just get a free cup of original Fanta.
In Japan, the market often issues seasonal rare flavours like yuzu.
A 2005 British television advertisement for Fanta Z showed a couple enjoying a picnic on a beach and drinking from their cans of Fanta Light, but then calmly spitting the drink out. Others were also shown spitting the drink out in similar ways. The viewers complained that the ad condoned spitting and that children were reported to have copied the ad. A head teacher said that children in the playground had mimicked the commercial. The majority of complainants to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the images were disgusting and thought it was inappropriate because spitting posed a health risk. The ad became restricted to the post-9pm broadcasts. The ASA agreed that viewers would not want children to see something perceived as anti-social, but did not consider that the images showing people spitting would cause widespread offense or pose a significant health risk.