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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Rat trap Cheese draws fans off the beaten path to Jonesville, Texas, storeShreveport Times, July 29th
The 20-pound brick of cheese sits at the end of an ancient wood counter in a covered vintage cheese holder attached to the slicer. A tradition at ... Is anything old for sale? “That set of white dishes have been here since the 1970s and they are for...Read more
Death at the Elvis museumThe Guardian, July 28th
A month before Ferguson erupted, an old white man in Mississippi, famous for his shrine to the King, shot and killed a young black man. Police cleared ... He did not have the vintage Elvis memorabilia necessary to be taken seriously by other collectors...Read more
Backus encourages recycling with new binsInternational Falls Journal, July 28th
Lori George Billingsley, vice president, community relations, Coca-Cola North America, said the program and its more than 50-year partnership with Keep America Beautiful is helping to ensure communities understand the importance of recycling...Read more
Antiques collection offer windows into the pastWashington Times, July 26th
Many of the items were headed for the dump, unwanted like the Coca Cola cooler marked 10 cents that he asked to have when the store across the street closed. Other items come to him through the front door as a direct purchase like the vintage cameras...Read more
Coca-Cola fetching higher prices with marketing, mini-cansBristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog), July 22nd
In this July 9, 2015 photo, bottles of Coca-Cola are on display at a Haverhill, Mass. supermarket. Coca-Cola ... We specialize in Real Estate, Antiques, Gold & Silver, Jewelry, furniture, Tin Toys, Coins, Advertising Gas & Oil Memorabilia, etc. "We do...Read more
What We Can Learn From Coca-Cola's Biggest BlunderTIME, July 10th
Yet viewers raised few complaints after ABC's Peter Jennings broke into General Hospital, on July 10, 1985, to tell them that, bowing to public outrage and stunned by the anemic sales figures of its replacement, Coca-Cola was moving to put its original ...Read more
UT replaces Pepsi with Coca-Cola on campusToledo Blade, July 7th
Coca-Cola isn't just the pause that refreshes, it's the pop that pays. A new deal to exclusively sell Coke beverages at the University of Toledo could mean $4.5 million in sponsorship fees over the life of a 10-year contract plus other perks, according...Read more
It's the real thingGlendale Star, July 2nd
So, if you are a Coca-Cola collector, and you want to learn more about your treasures, you are invited to attend the Saturday swap meet, which takes place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Renaissance-Glendale Hotel. Admission and parking are free. Collectors...Read more