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Quenching a Thirst for Nail Color

By:  Melissa Foss May 12, 2014
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OPI's Coca-Cola Nail Polish

Coca-Cola and OPI celebrated the launch of their nail polish collection, Icons of Happiness, with a launch party at Studio 250 in NYC on May 14, 2014.

Suzi Weiss-Fischman_OPI Co-Founder

When OPI Co-Founder and Executive VP Suzi Weiss-Fischmann launched her professional nailcare business in 1981, she was full of big ideas. But even she had no idea how far the brand would go. Fast forward 34 years and OPI is the world leader in the professional nailcare industry, selling 100 million bottles per year and Weiss-Fischmann is known as “The First Lady of Nails.” Now the journey continues: OPI has joined forces with Coca-Cola and nail polish devotees are anxiously awaiting the results of this unexpected collaboration.

Like all success stories, OPI had to start somewhere: Somewhat surprisingly, the brand acronym stands for “Odontorium Products Inc.” Originally the Hollywood-based company produced and sold dental products. Fun fact: Some of the first materials the nail company used for their original acrylics came from dental materials. Who would have thought?

Spreading Global Fashion

Whatever its origins, OPI is now respected worldwide in the nailcare world. The brand’s bottles are known not only for their on-trend colors and long-lasting formulas but also their punny, punchy shade names.

Examples of the tongue-in-cheek moniker-making include “I’m Not Really A Waitress” (a shimmery cherry red) and “Tickle My France-y” (a nude mauve) and it seems as if almost every woman has a go-to color. “My favorite shades are the ones that were game changers," says Weiss-Fischmann, "like ‘Lincoln Park After Dark,’ which is a dark eggplant. We introduced it when pink and reds were ubiquitous. After we showed these dark shades they became cool to wear year-round and nail color became a form of expression. Now there are no rules.”

What's in a Name?

Creating the amusing color names takes a team of six, locked doors, many hours and tons of food (but no booze), according to Weiss-Fischmann. Brainstorming is the name of the game, and hundreds of options are considered before the final decisions are made. How do the winners get chosen? “We just know when something clicks,” she says, who admits that there are often close runners-up that just didn’t make the cut for reasons that even the team might not be able to explain. These are put in the vault for later.

A Sparkling Collaboration

OPI and Coca-Cola may not be the first brands you would match up. After all, soft drinks don't seem like a logical inspiration for nail color. But Weiss-Fischmann says it works.

OPI bottle with Coke bottle

OPI describes this shade as classic red – always in style, always perfect.

“Partnering with Coca-Cola is a huge opportunity,” she says. “We’ve been talking about co-creating a collection for four years and seeing it come to fruition is thrilling. Bringing two iconic brands together just seems right.”

Thus several of Coca-Cola’s leading drinks, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Sprite and Fanta provide the inspiration for the colors of the collection, which will be available in June 2014 at professional salons and at Ulta.com. Becky Anderson, Coca-Cola Global Licensing Manager for North America added, "Shades will be sold separately and there will also be a mini-pack featuring 8 of the 9 shades. A few of the fun color names are: You’re So Vain-illa (inspired by Vanilla Coke); Today I Accomplished Zero (inspired by Coke Zero); Green on the Runway (inspired by Sprite); and Orange You Fantastic! (inspired by Fanta Orange)."

But how did OPI use these sodas as inspiration? After all, many of the liquids are similar colors. “The Coca-Cola red shade is an exact replica of the color on the bottle,” says Suzy. As for the other hues, the drink and the packaging serve as inspiration, not concrete color replicas. “Obviously the shades needed to be attractive on nails so we took some creative license.”

Coca-Cola is famous across the globe, but Weiss-Fischmann points out that partnering with such a well-known beauty brand as OPI calls attention to the fact that huge corporations recognize that women are powerful consumers. And who better than a fashion-forward nail polish company—especially today as nail art takes center stage in the beauty universe—to illustrate that concept?

Talking Trends

Beyond the Coca-Cola collaboration, what shades are coming down the pike? “For fall we will see chic browns with gold as a huge accent color, especially in nail art. Coral and minty green are also part of the palette,” says Weiss-Fischmann. Her golden rule: Forget matchy-matchy. Go with mix and match instead. For example, choose a chic beige or brown for your toes and accent it with a funky blue on fingers for an unexpected effect. The days of bubblegum pink on hands and feet are over.

Her Passion

Polish and philanthropy are equally important to Weiss-Fischmann. OPI is an ardent supporter of Delete Blood Cancer, an organization that encourages members to register to become bone marrow donors with the hope of saving the lives of people with leukemia and other diseases. Weiss-Fischmann was honored at the Delete Blood Cancer Gala in NYC on May 7th, and OPI will launch two limited edition lacquers to support the cause.


Coke OPI Collaboration - Hands and Polish Bottle