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 Conversations

Coca-Cola Conversations

Phil Mooney's Coca-Cola blog focuses on everything from memorabilia (antique, vintage, and modern) to the company's… [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

Video: Collection at Pot Belly's to be auctioned
St. Augustine Record, April 19th

Coca-Cola memorabilia, metal lunch boxes, Star Wars collectibles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys and Barbie Dolls in original boxes are just a few of the items that will be auctioned Saturday at Pot Belly's Cinema Plus. ... toy Hess and tanker...Read more

Best of Denton: Shopping
Denton Record Chronicle, April 18th

Be it a sparkly dress, some framed art or a piece of Coca-Cola memorabilia, you are sure to come across your very own hidden treasure and it's one of the reasons the malls have become a mainstay in the historic downtown Square for more than 30 years...Read more

More than a nickname
Advance Titan, April 17th

Sitting at his kitchen table with breakfast nook, with a curio cabinet filled with dozens of items of Green Bay Packers memorabilia behind him, Green sighed. “The bottom line is they wanted me to maintain my person in a seat, and I ... The Gang Green...Read more

Sales Leads: SATA Airlines, Coca-Cola, Timberland, Smirnoff, Taco Bell…, April 14th

In the commercial, a dorky guy whose house is filled with 1980s memorabilia sings about how he's been eating Egg McMuffins since 1984 to the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” After trying a Taco Bell Waffle Taco, everything changes. This commercial ...Read more

Warner indoor flea market draws treasure-seekers from across the region
Concord Monitor, April 13th

Alan Grandy has had an interest in collectibles ever since he was a little boy, when every weekend he would travel with his dad to postcard fairs. His father was an avid collector and founder ... Yesterday, the dreary weather didn't dampen the spirits...Read more

Unintended Consequences: How Consumer Misuse Can Boost Sales
Entrepreneur, April 8th

Company managers encouraged user-generated video uploads to YouTube, and along with Coca-Cola, they even signed popular video makers to help them create more. The bricolage concept can be seen across ... As an example, back in 1998 eBay was known for...Read more

Toys, Coca-Cola products among items at collectibles show
Moose Jaw Times-Herald, March 30th

Grounds on March 29, 2014. Since 1984, Brian Lillie has come from Victoria, B.C. to Moose Jaw for the Antiques/Collectibles Show. ... Dan Kirschman from Moose Jaw was selling a bunch of Coca-Cola collectables. He's been collecting those products...Read more

Southwest Florida shops specialize in vintage, collectible and antique items
The News-Press, March 27th

Items for sale at the Swap Shop in south Fort Myers include collectibles including a Coca-Cola advertisement, buoys and a stuffed deer head. / photos by Andrew West/Coastal Life. Antique American pottery sold at the Swap Shop in south Fort Myers. Zoom ...Read more