From its invention by John S. Pemberton in 1886 to today, Coca-Cola has become a staple of American and worldwide culture. As the consumerism of the mid-20th century blossomed, Coke showed itself to be a master of mass advertising, and it was this skill which helped the company dominate the American market. Indeed, even in 1886, Pemberton spent more money on ads than he made in sales, producing dozens of signs and other promotional items.

Aside from techniques that today seem quite conventional—TV and magazine ads, for example—Coca-Cola pioneered the art of brand recognition with an almost endless variety of promotional materials, from clocks to coolers to calendars. All bore the immediately recognizable logo and, in some form or another, the classic red-and-white color scheme. Many also included a Coke slogan, like “Thirst knows no season,” “Delicious and Refreshing,” and “Things Go Better with Coke.”

Collectors today can find a flood of Coke memorabilia and collectibles—part of these items’ genius in the first place was their durability and usability. To pick one example among many, Coca-Cola thermometers served a practical purpose that helped ensure a long promotional life. This set them apart from the posters and other advertisements that most store owners would routinely discard. As the decades passed and popular styles changed, so did the design of these thermometers. Some in the 1940s, for example, featured an Art Deco-inspired design.

Coke bottles, too, evolved over the decades, from a non-standardized hodgepodge of improvised glassware in the early 20th century to the now-classic curved shape known as the “Mae West” or “hobbleskirt” bottle, which was patented in November 1915 after a two-year contest to find the perfect design. Then as now, consumers instantly associate the shape with the Coca-Cola brand.

When Christmas came around, it was a safe bet that Coke would market Santa figurines, ornaments, or snow globes, all bearing the Coke logo. If Dad needed a way to bring the family’s cool, refreshing bottles of Coke on a picnic, he could buy a Coca-Cola cooler, a portable version of the larger coolers which retailers relied on to store and display Coke in the early years.

Alongside all of these items, collectors also prize oilcloth, tin, and especially porcelain Coca-Cola signs, some of which helped popularize the famous “red button” bottle cap shape. Other collectibles include tin-plate serving trays and even the vending machines themselves.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Coca-Cola Collectibles

Coca-Cola Collectibles

The Collectibles page of the official Coca-Cola website features photos and videos on bottles, signs, advertising, … [read review or visit site]

Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web

Bobbys Coca-Cola on the Web

This site, a group effort, is a great reference for Coca-Cola collectors. Start with the timeline and product lists… [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]

The ultimate guide to vintage soda vending machines, from Coca-Cola to Pepsi to Royal Crown to Dr. Pepper. Start at… [read review or visit site]

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Recent News: Coca Cola

Source: Google News

Trash Bash set for April 25
KPLC-TV, March 26th

Acceptable items include antifreeze, automotive batteries, clothing, sofas, various reusable items; electronic devices with plugs, computer and CRT monitors, mercury or mercury products, chemistry sets, fluorescent light bulbs, old alkaline batteries...Read more

Buffalo Bisons 2015 and all the cool new stuff
Artvoice (blog), March 26th

Upon arrival to Pettibone's yesterday, the mezzanine level restaurant inside Coca Cola Field in downtown Buffalo, it hit you as soon as you walked in. Popcorn, Orange colored popcorn. ... The Buffalo Bisons introduced their lineup of menu items...Read more

Nicholas Megalis Goes 'Mega Weird' With First Book
Newsweek, March 26th

His 4.7 million followers display an enthusiasm that rivals the Beliebers, and he's snagged advertising deals with everyone from Coca-Cola to Ford. Megalis's first book, a hefty, illustrated-memoir-meets-short-story-collection called Mega Weird, goes...Read more

Apple Tree: Holidays in bloom
Piqua Daily Call, March 26th

Located at 405 N. Main St., Apple Tree offers everything from bright lights to night lights, Santas of all shapes and sizes, vintage collectibles and more, the store is a veritable holiday emporium, with the yuletide season being most prominently...Read more

10 Cult-Favorite Foods Brought Back from the Dead by Popular Demand
TIME, March 26th

When Burger King brought back chicken fries to its menu last summer, the company explained that the decision was made due to a widespread campaign of fast food fanatics clamoring for their return via online petitions and social media. “Guest outcries ...Read more

The Whitney Museum, Soon to Open Its New Home, Searches for American ...
New York Times, March 26th

In its former home, only the fifth floor — some 7,725 square feet — was reserved for the permanent collection, just enough to give the public a tiny taste of the major works the museum owns. ... In addition to the Whitney's signature works...Read more

Coca-Cola's archives reveal a masterclass in marketing
Irish Times, March 20th

“These bottles I have been buying up like crazy this year,” Ted Ryan, Coca-Cola's archivist, told a group of Irish journalists, pointing to a shelf of antique Coca-Cola bottles and counterfeits produced by rivals trying to profit from the company's...Read more

Society: Class glass Coca-Cola bottle turns 100
The Detroit News, March 2nd

An army of waiters dressed in red Coca-Cola T-shirts passed hors d'oeuvres (mini cheeseburgers, lamb chops, smoked salmon and caviar) along with specialty cocktails and a variety of Coca-Cola soft drinks. Following a few quick speeches, the crowd...Read more