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The Coca-Cola Advertising Icons Bracket Challenge

By:  Jamal Booker Apr 7, 2014
The Coca-Cola Icons Bracket Challenge: Final Results

Crowning the Champion: The Contour Bottle

We should have known it from the jump. Of course the winner of the Coca-Cola Advertising Icons Bracket Challenge is The Contour Bottle. I opine that The Contour Bottle is the winner because it’s actually the closest icon (literally) to the drink that we all know and love.

The bubbly pause of refreshment can't travel with us without its most distinguished vessel. The Contour Bottle is the perfect design for the perfect beverage – carrying in it a refreshing uplift. Out of 16 Coke Advertising Icons, The Contour Bottle features prominently in half a dozen. It’s at the epicenter – offered as the question to the “Yes” girl’s answer; enabling the unlikeliest of connections in the “Mean” Joe Greene spot and then ultimately becoming the object of our longing as Greene chugs it; quenching the thirst of Polar Bears year after year and being embraced by each of The Hilltop Singers in 1971.

Consistent across everything, it comes full circle. Because we love the product Coca-Cola, we love all of the icons associated with it. But similar to liquid currency, we go with The Contour Bottle mostly because it allows us the fastest access to what we desire. A vote for The Contour Bottle is indeed a vote for Coke.

Cheers to The Contour Bottle, our Number One Coca-Cola Advertising Icon!

The Coca-Cola Icons Bracket Challenge



Final | April 7

From all the years of Coca-Cola advertising, we selected the top icons – the cream of the crop. And it finally comes down to our overall top seeds: The Contour Bottle and Santa Claus.

Although the Polar Bear put up a great battle, there was no stopping St Nick in that round. The Contour Bottle also shows how much pizzazz it still has in advance of its 100th birthday next year.

I would suggest you watch the following two videos before making your final decision: The Coca-Cola Contour Bottle or Santa Claus. Make this vote count! [Update: Finals voting is now closed!]



Round Three Update | April 3

And then there were four.

Two rounds down, two to go! The Contour Bottle looked like a true #1 seed in Round Two, rolling over the “Cinderella story” of the first round, Lillian Nordica and Hilda Clark by a wide margin with 125 votes to the pair’s 14. They had a nice run.

If there were such a thing as "Overtime" for a Coca-Cola Journey debate, the match-up between The Coca-Cola Red Disc and The Hilltop Singers almost could have used it. I was watching this one closely, and it was a pretty tight vote, with the Red Disc edging it out 78-55. True to the form of a regional championship played on the hardwood, this Pemberton Region Championship nearly came down to the wire.

Over in the Woodruff Region, Santa Claus had no trouble moving past the “Yes” Girl, while the Robinson Region saw the surprising Polar Bear surge past “Mean” Joe Greene to score an upset victory, giving some credence to insiders’ predictions that the Polar Bear would wind up our eventual champion. Only time will tell as the Polar Bear is now in a match-up on the right half of the bracket that begs the question who will be crowned “King of the Cold?” Will it be Haddon Sundblom’s masterpiece or the thirsty Ursus maritimus?

You have through Saturday, April 5 to decide which two Coke Advertising Icons will battle it out for the championship. [Update: Round 3 voting is now closed!]




Round Two Update | March 31

Welcome to Round Two of the Coca-Cola Advertising Icons Bracket Challenge! The results from Round One are in, and we have to say goodbye to the super cool Cobot, The Diet Coke Hunk and The Buddy Lee Doll, among others. In most of the match-ups the higher seeds easily prevailed, with one exception in the Candler region. 

I was shocked at the first round upset of Candler Region #2 seed Sprite Boy but as they say, the numbers don't lie. Up against #3 seed Lillian Nordica and Hilda Clark (the first celebrities to appear in Coca-Cola advertising), Sprite Boy could only garner a meager 15 votes as compared to Nordica and Clark's 88. Maybe it was the power of two with the pairing of Nordica and Clark. Ultimately, I think it was the "creepy" factor that people often cite about Sprite Boy that led to the first round runaway shocker. Lillian and Hilda will have a tougher time this round against overall #1 seed The Contour Bottle. 

The Highlighted Matchup of this round is “Mean” Joe Greene vs The Polar Bear. [Update 4/3: Round 2 voting is now closed!]




Round One and Introduction | March 26

For college basketball fans, March brings excitement, intrigue, competitive match-ups, and the almighty bracket. You never really know who will win, and there are inevitable upsets throughout the tournament. What makes it fun is that you can earn clout for correctly predicting the winners who will move on to the next round – whether you are a fan or just relying on the luck of the draw.

Since there are many-a-favorite Coca-Cola advertising icons, we thought it would be fun to put together a “Sweet 16” of Coke icons and let you – the fans – vote on who makes it to the next round, and eventually wins the championship. We pooled the "Coke Archives Brain Trust" to select the icons, resolve the final entries and rank each to determine the tournament seedings.

Top Seeds

The overall #1 seed? The Contour Bottle, which is the clear favorite. The other top seeds are Santa Claus, The Coca-Cola Red Disc  and "Mean" Joe Greene. The #2 seeds are: The Hilltop Singers, The "Yes" Girl, The Polar Bear and Sprite Boy.

The Brackets

What's a Sweet 16 bracket without four regions? Since it's impossible to have a “region-less” bracket, we aptly named the regions for four key figures in Coke's history: 1. John Pemberton, 2. Frank Robinson, 3. Asa Candler and 4. Robert Woodruff. These names represent Coca-Cola brand marketing pioneers and legends, each responsible for a legendary era, icon or piece of “Coke Lore.”

John Pemberton created the drink we all know and love; Frank Robinson came up with and developed the logo; Asa Candler was the early marketing genius; Robert Woodruff reigned over the classic advertising era of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus, Norman Rockwell, and the mystique of The Secret Formula.

With that introduction, we invite you to participate and cast your votes for your favorite Coke advertising icons. Each matchup in each round will be settled in a Coca-Cola Journey debate. The first round of voting is open now – each link below takes you to the debate for each match-up, where you can also find links to information about characters you may not be as familiar with. [Update 3/31: Round One debates are now closed!]