Coca Cola is one of America’s most popular brands. Whether you’re a collector who likes to shop at estate sales for Coca Cola memorabilia, a special-occasion soda drinker, or Coke just reminds you of a simpler time, you’ll get a kick out of these fun facts we’ve compiled about our favorite soft drink.
1. Almost everyone knows the iconic soft drink was invented by pharmacist John Pemberton in 1886. But what most people don’t know is Coca Cola’s recognizable (and trademarked) cursive script was designed that same year by Frank M. Robinson, who also named the famous soft drink. The script is still used in the logo today, proving good design endures.
3. The first original Coke bottle was designed to be unique and thus reinforce the company’s branding, as well as differentiate it from imitators who were bottling quickly and cheaply. (Coca Cola was tired of broken glass bottles getting blamed on them). Coke executives wanted to make sure people could recognize their bottles in the dark and even if they shattered. Hence, the unique contour bottle with the embossed logo that’s still manufactured today. The bottle was approved for use in 1916 and trademarked nearly 60 years later, in 1977.
4. Most people think Coca Cola rose in popularity during Prohibition because people substituted their usual poison with the sugary soft drink. And it’s true this myth may be an easier story to swallow. But what really happened was more in line with the American pioneering spirit. Always believing two good things are better than one, people soon discovered that no matter how sweet booze tasted when it was outlawed, it tasted even sweeter when mixed or chased with some good ole Coca Cola. So the next time you order a Jack and Coke, you can thank the temperance movement for the inspiration.
5. While you may have thought the 6-pack was invented for beer-swilling husbands, you may be surprised to learn the truth. The modern-day convenience was invented by Coca Cola in 1923 to make things easier for busy housewives grocery shopping (and presumably trying to juggle multiple bottles of Coke for everyone in the family). The handy new 6-pack made it easy to transport multiple bottles at once. Later, the company would come out with different sized bottles, including a family size, also with busy housewives in mind.
7. During WWII, Coca Cola was given to thirsty soldiers to help raise morale and remind them of the good things back home. In fact, Coke was so sacred it was served as a substitute for communion wine at the Battle of the Bulge. Sacrilegious. . . or delicious?
8. If you’re a Millennial, you might think a Tab is something you click on to open your Internet browser. But those who were born in the 1970s or earlier first think of Tab as that dieter’s dream: sugar-free soda. What most people might not realize is that Coca Cola was behind that sacharine sweetbomb. Created in 1963 to be marketed toward women watching their waistlines, Tab was later replaced by Diet Coke back in 1982 —“just for the taste of it”.
9. What do Coca Cola, Thai food, and your favorite salsa have in common? Cilantro. Yep, that’s right. Coriander, the cilantro seed is one of the ingredients in Coke’s super secret formula. Whether you’re in the camp that thinks cilantro tastes like soap, or you can’t get enough of it in your burrito, odds are you can’t taste it at all in a Coke. And that’s a good thing.
10. The debacle that was New Coke has become a lesson in Business 101. Back in the 80s, in an attempt to lift sales, the story goes, execs at Coca Cola decided to tamper with the secret formula. America went ballistic. What people might not remember is it was such a big deal that when Coca Cola decided to switch back to the original “Classic” formula, the decision was treated as national news. In fact, news anchor Peter Jennings interrupted the regularly scheduled programming to make the groundbreaking announcement, making it a classic Coke moment.
11. Since December 2008, American Rebecca Flores has held the distinguished honor of having the largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia, with 945 different items. The 15 year old girl began her collection back in December 2005, starting with an 80 ounce bottle. Her collection is displayed at home and includes her most prized item, two original Coca Cola vending machines.
12. Because Coca Cola is such an integral part of American pop culture, vintage Coke ads and memorabilia have always been popular among collectors. In fact, you can find Coca Cola items at estate sales (especially in the South), yard sales, garage sales, and auctions, depending on the item. The most expensive Coca Cola item is an old soda fountain which retails at 4.5 million dollars. That’s a lot of soda!
13. Coca Cola is known more for their ingenious marketing campaigns than for the soda they sell. But those ads don’t come cheap. The company reportedly spent $3.3 billion on global advertising back in 2013. This’s more than the Gross Domestic Product for the entire country of Guyana!
14. Delicious and Refreshing. The Pause that Refreshes. America’s Favorite Moment. Passport to Refreshment. The Sign of Good Taste. It’s the Real Thing. Have a Coke and a Smile. Coke is It! Always Coca-Cola. The Coke Side of Life. Open Happiness.
Part of what’s made Coca Cola the lasting brand it is today are the memorable ad campaigns that reinforce its original marketing message: Coke makes for a pretty tasty and refreshing break.
What’s your favorite Coca Cola slogan? Let us know on in the comments!