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.
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Schubert's collection is delicious and refreshingMorrison County Record, November 20th
John Schubert, Little Falls, has amassed a Coca-Cola collection in eight years that would rival many others. He said he is ... There are old wooden cases with metal straps, some large enough for the old “family” sized bottles, fishing rods, golf balls...Read more
Seahawks Announce Fan Activities for November 23Seahawks.com, November 20th
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and all gates open at 10 a.m. The game will be presented by Subway ® and Coca-Cola. The Seahawks and Marine Toys for Tots ... Subway ® and Coca-Cola will host a cup stacking competition at their booth in American...Read more
Rummaging Through The Attic: Shula Coaching Shirt, Hat, Business Card And ...MiamiDolphins, November 20th
features artifacts from the Dolphins archives that illustrate the history of the team. This week we look at memorabilia from the career of Hall of Fame Head Coach Don Shula. ... that achievement, but probably none were quite as tasty as those Coke...Read more
Adis to the Diva DuchessDaily Beast, November 20th
Her perks as head of the 540-year-old House of Alba included not having to kneel before the pope and the right to ride on horseback into Seville cathedral, although it is not known if she has ever taken advantage of either. According to British press...Read more
Meeting Ted Ryan: The man who helped digitise 27000 historical Coca-Cola adsEconomic Times, November 18th
For the office, not for his personal collection, mind you. None of the Coca-Cola employees are allowed to buy or keep anything from the archives. Just avoids a situation where they might sell them further and the brand ends up paying double the actual...Read more
'Coca-Cola Christmas' returns to Slugger MuseumThe Courier-Journal, November 18th
The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory has opened a holiday exhibit featuring Coca-Cola memorabilia that will run through Jan. 5. The exhibit, titled "A Coca-Cola Christmas," was a popular attraction last year and is back in expanded form, officials said...Read more
Should the Polar Bear Still Sell Coca-Cola?The New Yorker, November 6th
In 2010, according to a story in the Independent, Lacoste pledged a hundred and fifty thousand euros, or a hundred and eighty-nine thousand dollars, over three years to the Save Your Logo project, to help pay for a census of a rare crocodile found only...Read more
Coca-Cola's Problems Reflect a Giant Losing RelevanceForbes, October 28th
But Boomers loved Coca-Cola. Most of our parents limited our consumption, much to our frustration. Even in progressive homes, as children we were usually only allowed one, or at most two, bottles per day. We chafed at the controls, and when we left...Read more