When it comes to brand love, few fans show more passion for Coca-Cola than the thousands of collectors around the world.

Many of them recently travelled to Essen, Germany, for the 23rd edition of the German Coke collector's convention.

Some 540 visitors made their way to the annual event, which was once again attended by the Coca-Cola Freundeskreis — the German Coke collectors' club — and Coca-Cola employees, including Claudia Wurm and Anja Schenk from the Public Affairs & Communications department in Germany.

"The Coke Convention is the place for Coke superfans and collectors in Germany to meet in person," said Wurm, who manages Coke's Consumer Interaction Centre in Germany. "Collectors can show off their invaluable treasures and look for that one special item to add to their collection."

Cards

The event also welcomed a VIP guest, Coca-Cola Archvist Ted Ryan, who flew in from Atlanta to shed some light on his work as the guardian of Coca-Cola's heritage and answer collectors' questions. Some dealt with establishing the authenticity of items. "Every year, we receive around 300 questions from Coke fans about their collectors' items," Ryan said. "We help them find out where these items have come from and whether they are actually authentic. It's not always easy to determine, but an important indicator is the trademark symbol of the circled capital letter R."

Memorabilia

Other collectors were curious to know more about the Coca-Cola archives. "We have more than 100,000 items of memorabilia from over 200 countries in our 1,600 square-metre archives in Atlanta," Ryan added.

The Coke Archives also contain countless Coke treasures from Germany. When the German headquarters moved from Essen to Berlin in 2003, its extensive archive was transported across the Atlantic to Coca-Cola's headquarters. "It took us five years to catalogue all these artefacts, including the original document for the trademark registration of Fanta, which was invented in Germany," Ryan said.

Ted Speaking