Hello people! It’s been a lovely Thursday here in the city of Port Harcourt and I am excited to welcome you to this week’s edition of ‘Brand Story’ though it’s coming late. Last Week, we gained some information and insights about five great brands. In today’s feature, we shall be looking at one giant brand in a class of its own.

The brand story I’ll be sharing with you will be a mix of history and pictorial presentations, might be a bit longer than usual but will worth every minute, and most of the words you’ll read will be as compiled by the company itself. Let’s get it on with this remarkable brand – Coca Cola!


This iconic brand was founded at a soda fountain in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in 1886 and has ever since been a catalyst for social interaction and inspired innovation. The remarkable moments in history that you’ll be reading in a chronological sequence are all part of what has created this global brand that has been refreshing the entire world for 126 years now and still counting.




May 8, Coca-Cola is created by John S. Pemberton and served at Jacobs’ Pharmacy. Nine drinks a day are sold during this year. Company accountant, Frank Robinson, names the drink “Coca-Cola,” and thinking the two Cs would look well in advertising, pens the famous Spencerian script logo.



John Pemberton registers his “Coca-Cola Syrup and Extract” label as a copyright with the U.S. Patent Office.



Asa Candler begins to acquire personal control of the Coca-Cola formula and patents from John Pemberton and his partners.or









Asa Candler, who began to acquire The Coca-Cola Company in 1888, finalizes the purchase and incorporates The Coca-Cola Company as a Georgia Corporation. An advertising budget of $11,000 is authorized.




At the Company’s second annual meeting, the first dividend is paid to investors.


Asa Candler declares in the Annual Report that Coca-Cola is sold and drunk in every state and territory in the United States.






The advertising budget surpasses $100,000 for the first time.



D’Arcy Advertising Company begins its 50-year association with The Coca-Cola Company. A straight-sided bottle is first used in national advertising.





The annual advertising budget for The Coca-Cola Company surpasses $1 million for the first time.



Asa Candler makes a $1 million donation to Atlanta’s Emory University, beginning the Company’s long heritage of support for the school.








The Coca-Cola Company is purchased by a group of investors led by Ernest Woodruff for $25 million.





COKE LORE: The Contour Bottle

“The tremendous success and growth of Coca-Cola encouraged other competitors to try to imitate Coke by offering bottles with slight variations on the trademarked name and distinctive script logo. Koka-Kola, Koca-Nola, Celery-Cola and Koke were just a few of the products that tried to capitalize on our success. Working with our bottlers, The Coca-Cola Company asked bottle manufacturers to submit designs for a bottle for Coca-Cola that was so distinctive that it could be recognized by feel in the dark or identified lying broken on the ground.




Alexander Samuelson of the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indiana, designed the distinctive shape, and it was patented on November 16, 1915. The bottle was modified and slimmed down to work with the current bottling equipment and went into broader production in 1916. This contour bottle was the only packaging used by The Coca-Cola Company for 40 years until the king-size package was introduced in 1955.


In 1960, the contour bottle was granted registration as a trademark by the U.S. Patent office. Today, it is still the most recognized bottle in the world, and the shape is used for packaging from the new aluminum can to the 2-liter family size.”



The first use of the slogan “Thirst Knows No Season” helps transition Coca-Cola from a summer beverage to one enjoyed year-round.



The Board of Directors passes a resolution placing the secret formula for Coca-Cola in a bank vault at the Trust Company Bank in Atlanta.


Outdoor billboards are introduced as part of the advertising mix.



The Company begins sponsoring its first radio program, “Vivian the Coca-Cola Girl.”



The Company begins its long-term association with the Olympic Games by supplying drinks from kiosks surrounding the venues in Amsterdam.







Seeking to create an advertising program that links Coca-Cola with Christmas, artist Haddon Sundblom creates his first illustration showing Santa Claus pausing for a Coke. For the next three decades, from 1931 to 1964, Sundblom paints images of Santa that help to create the modern interpretation of St. Nick.





Lettie Pate Evans joins the Board of Directors of The Coca-Cola Company. She is the first woman to serve on the board of a major corporation, a position she holds until 1953.



The 50th anniversary of Coca-Cola is celebrated.




COKE LORE: CocaCola and Santa Claus

“Most people agree on what Santa Claus looks like—a pleasantly plump character with a jolly expression and a white beard, wearing a red suit. But he did not always look that way. The image of Santa Claus ranged from big to small, and he wore colors from red to green and even brown. The variation is because Santa represented a number of stories from different countries.


The Coca-Cola Company began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s in an effort to increase sales during the slower winter months. Several different images of Santa were used, but none proved to be popular with consumers until 1931. That year, Archie Lee, an advertising executive for Coca-Cola, commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to paint a Santa that was both wholesome and realistic. Sundblom looked to the Clement Moore poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and his own Scandinavian heritage to create the big, red, jolly vision of Santa that the Company used for more than 30 years. The Company commissioned Sundblom to paint Santa for the last time in 1964, but by then, the popular image of Santa was the Coca-Cola Santa Claus.”



The U.S. government requests that Coca-Cola be made available to the troops. Robert Woodruff pledges to provide Coke to the military for a nickel regardless of what it costs the Company to produce the product.



“Coke” becomes a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company.



The “Yes” poster with artwork by Haddon Sundblom is released. The poster wins multiple design awards.


The first price increase from the 5 cent Coca-Cola occurs in California. The price gradually rises in other markets, ending the decades-old “nickel Coke.”





Coca-Cola becomes the first product to appear on the cover of Time magazine. The magazine wants to have a photo of Robert Woodruff on the cover, but he refuses stating that the product is the only important element in the Company.














A Coca-Cola contour bottle becomes the central focus of the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy.”



Roberto Gouizeta becomes Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.



Diet Coke is introduced in a celebrity filled ceremony in New York, becoming the first extension of the trademarks Coca-Cola and Coke.



The formula for Coca-Cola is changed for the first time in 99 years. The product, popularly dubbed “New Coke,” generated consumer protest nationwide. Product made with the original formula, renamed “Coca-Cola Classic,” is returned to the market 79 days later.


Why would this great formula be changed after 99 whole years? I will tell you what Coca-Cola never mentioned! It was as a result of a brand marketing campaign launched by rival company Pepsi. The campaign was known as ‘The pepsi Challenge’ and it ran from 1975 – 2012. It was originally a taste test which took place at malls, shopping centers and several public spots, a representative of Pepsi sets up a table with two blank cups: one containing pepsi and the other Coke. Consumers are urged to taste both colas, and then say which drink they prefer. Then the representative reveals the two bottles so the taster can see whether they preferred Coke or Pepsi. The results of the test leaned towards a consensus that Pepsi was most preferred by consumers.


This supposed preference for Pepsi according to the ‘test results’ actually boosted sales for Pepsi while that of Coca-Cola dwindled. This forced The Coca-Cola Company to further sweeten their formula which eventually led to the nationwide consumer protest. I recently researched the actual cause for all that happened that period and here’s an excerpt for you:

“In his book, Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell presents evidence that suggests Pepsi’s success over Coca-Cola in the “Pepsi Challenge” is a result of the flawed nature of the “sip test” method. His research shows that tasters will generally prefer the sweeter of two beverages based on a single sip, even if they prefer a less sweet beverage over the course of an entire can. Just because a taster prefers a single sip of a sweeter beverage, doesn’t mean he or she would prefer to have an entire case of it at home.

That should be enough clue for you to know what led to the protest, no need boring you with more research information!













A Coca-Cola Facebook page is established by two fans. The site has over 22 million fans worldwide as of January 2011 and continues to grow.

Sprite becomes the third Company product to sell more than 2 billion cases annually, joining Coca-Cola and Diet Coke/Coca-Cola light.

The Coca-Cola Conversations blog launches.



The Coca-Cola Company celebrates 125 years of brand Coca-Cola.


Wow! I can go on and on, but I have to leave out a whole lot of other details to end this edition of ‘brand Story’, but not without this:


Brand Genetics: Pleasure and Innovation, Leadership and Social Responsibility. Also, you may have noticed that Coca-Cola takes ADVERTISING very seriously right from the “beginning” of the company!


Brands don’t just become outstanding, unique, or iconic, they are BUILT!


Maple Dappa

Brands Consultant

Mapemond Resources

Twitter: @mapledappa

We are building a platform of knowledge, information, & networking for forward thinking & enterprising young people as well as Brands across the #South-South & beyond!

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