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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Dreamridge RetreatSydney Morning Herald, December 5th
The house's sense of time and place is also enriched by tasteful design elements and laced with memorabilia. Shaun and Donna's friendly personalities shine through in every room thanks to well-chosen Australiana. A fully equipped bar is made oh-so much...Read more
Festival of Trees inspires creativity and givingWausau Daily Herald, December 5th
Charlotte Santama, right, of Wausau, her daughter Lisa Sigmund and 3-year-old granddaughter Kindal Sigmund, both of Kaukauna, look at a decorated Christmas tree Friday during the Festival of Trees at Stoney Creek Inn in Rothschild. / T'xer Zhon Kha...Read more
Asche, Ruf, Pettibone added to Phillies winter banquet guest listAllentown Morning Call, December 4th
23, are available by calling the team at 610-841-PIGS (7447). Asche, a 23-year-old third baseman, is coming off a highly second full season of pro ball that culminated with him appearing in 50 games for the Phillies during his rookie season. has...Read more
Louisville Slugger Museum offering free admission to children [online extra]The Courier-Journal, December 3rd
The exhibition pays tribute to Coke's influence on the Christmas season around the world and showcases more than 75 years of art and artifacts direct from Coca-Cola's collection. Visitors can view original Coca-Cola artwork, memorabilia, artifacts...Read more
Yuletide at Storrowton ready to welcome holiday seasonMassLive.com, December 2nd
“When we first introduced a Victorian Santa into our celebration, we were worried kids might not recognize him since he didn't look like the traditional Coca-Cola Santa of today. And, for those who want to get some shopping done, holiday gifts...Read more
Dave Mason operates his vintage soda fountain, which is part of his collection ...Joplin Globe, November 12th
Descending the stairs into the basement of Dave Mason's home, the memorabilia begins to take over the walls. Vintage signs and advertisements abound as "I can remember going to church and after, we'd go to Willy Secrest's (soda fountain) over there...Read more
Coca-Cola Collectors Club to celebrate 25th anniversaryal.com (blog), November 11th
“Coca-Cola collectibles have always been a popular collectible, even with the down turn of the economy, and the vintage pieces just continue to increase in value each year.” The meetings begin with eating and fellowship, officer's reports, old and new ...Read more
Coke is it: Is your Coke collectible the real thing? Find out at the Choo Choo ...Chattanooga Times Free Press, November 7th
view bio ». Linda Prabish's kitchen is decorated with Coca-Cola memorabilia. Photo by Tim Barber. photo. Labron Meadows favorite piece of Coca-Cola memorabilia in his 2,000-item collection is a metal match pull from the 1930s. Photo by Doug Strickland...Read more