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Coca-Cola and 12-12-12: Then and Now

By:  Jamal Booker Dec 12, 2012
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Today marks the end of an era, of sorts. New Year’s Day 2001 (01.01.01) kicked off a steady succession of repetitive dates – the same numeric month, day and year – something none of us will see again in our lifetimes. These dates only fall in the first 12 years of a century, so the next occurrence will take place in 2101.

The buzz about 12-12-12 led me to think about what Coke ads were used on the same date 100 years ago... on Dec. 12, 1912. My search led me to this “Delicious at All Seasons” newspaper ad printed on 12-12-(19)12, which was a Thursday. It was placed by the Americus Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Americus, Georgia. That bottler was founded in 1905.

The Americus Weekly Times-Recorder December 12, 1912 Coca-Cola adNotice that the bottle in the ad is a straight-sided bottle, as this was four years before the contour bottle was introduced. The ad was on page three of The Americus Weekly Times-Recorder newspaper. It is among other December, 1912 ads promoting an exceptionally fine line of fancy house slippers that “would make most acceptable Christmas gifts” and neckties starting at 25 cents.

As an African-American history enthusiast, I was also pleased to discover two notable figures, both born on December 12,  each with a connection to someone affiliated with Coca-Cola. December 12, 1912 is the birth date of Henry Armstrong, who is consistently rated among the top boxers of all time, and once fought against Sugar Ray Robinson, who appeared in a Coca-Cola ad in 1952. December 12, 1918 is the birth date of jazz vocalist Joe Williams, who was born in Cordele, Georgia. His first big break came in 1942, when vibraphonist and band leader Lionel Hampton hired him for his orchestra. Eleven years later, Hampton was featured in a 1953 Coca-Cola ad.

Here are a few other fun historical Coke tidbits connected to the number 12:

  • 12-oz. “King Size” glass bottles of Coca-Cola debuted in 1955. The 12-oz. can followed in 1960.
  • 12 packs of Coca-Cola were introduced in the early 1950s.
  • Bermuda became the 12th country outside the U.S. to bottle Coca-Cola in 1927.
  • In our 12th year of business (1898), we sold 214,008 gallons of syrup... or 27,393,024 drinks.
  • In 1912, we sold 5,504,956 gallons of syrup... or 704,634,368 drinks.
  • The 12-inch red disc Coca-Cola sign was introduced in 1947.
  • The self-dispensing Fridge Pack, which holds 12 cans of Coca-Cola, was piloted in select U.S. cities in 2001 before rolling out nationwide the following year.
  • Sokenbicha, a refreshing ready-to-drink tea blend first sold in Japan and now the U.S., was our 12th billion-dollar brand (we’re up to 15 and counting).

Click over to Coca-Cola Unbottled for 12 reasons to smile on 12-12-12.