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Coke Lore: A Look at the Cultural History of Coca-Cola

By:  Conversations Staff Jan 1, 2012
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Coca-Cola Stories - Special Family Times

Did you know the paintings used in Coke advertising in the mid-1900s helped create the modern image of Santa Claus? Have you ever heard the real story behind the 1971 TV commercial with young people singing "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke?"

There is so much history to share about the company and the soft drink that became a global superstar. Here are links to some of our favorite stories:

An Iconic Sign Returns to Downtown Atlanta

Coca-Cola advertising has been a part of Atlanta since 1886, but few examples were as visible or well known as the series of signs in Margaret Mitchell Square. The sign disappeared for 20 years but returned to a new home in 2003.
Read the story here: Coca-Cola's Neon Spectacular in Downtown Atlanta

5 Things You Never Knew About Santa Claus and Coca-Cola

The Santa Claus we all know and love — that big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard — didn’t always look that way. In fact, prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. But then Coca-Cola began running ads featuring a cuddlier Santa.
Read the story here: The True History of the Modern Day Santa Claus
 

Famous Coca-Cola Advertising Slogans Over the Years

Coke has had around 50 advertising slogans over the years that have reflected not only the brand, but also the times. These catch phrases have included: Delicious and Refreshing (1904); The Pause That Refreshes (1929); It’s The Real Thing (1969) and Always Coca-Cola (1993).
Read the story here: A History of Coca-Cola Advertising Slogans

The History of Spectacular Outdoor Ads

From New York to Tokyo eye-catching signs reflect the Coca-Cola tradition of signature outdoor signage which began in Cartersville, Georgia in 1894. Made from materials ranging from neon and paint to concrete (which better withstands typhoons), these advertisements have become popular landmarks all over the world.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: Landmark Signs

The Surprising History of the Sprite Boy

An elf-like cartoon figure – a sprite – was used in Coca-Cola ads long before the launch of the Sprite soft drink in 1961.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: Sprite Boy

Famous Artists Who Worked With Coca-Cola

From its first promotional calendars produced in the 1890s, Coca-Cola featured popular contemporary art. This tradition continued into the 1900s as the company used the work of top artists of the day, including leading examples of America's golden age of illustration such as Haddon H. Sundblom, N.C. Wyeth and Gil Elvgren.
Read the story here: Famous Artists Who Worked With Coca-Cola

The Story Behind the "Hilltop Ad"

The celebrated commercial featuring people singing on a hilltop was inspired by something an advertising exec saw when his flight to London was diverted because of fog.
Read the story here: The Making of "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke"

The Launch of New Coke

On April 23, 1985, the Coca-Cola Company took arguably the biggest risk in consumer goods history, announcing that it was changing the formula for the world's most popular soft drink. That didn’t go so well.
Read the story here: The Real Story Behind New Coke

The Evolution of the Coca-Cola Logo and Trademark

When John S. Pemberton created the formula for his new drink in 1886, his partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name "Coca-Cola," thinking that "the two Cs would look well in advertising." Robinson then went on to handwrite the logo in a distinctive flowing script.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: Trademark Chronology

Polar Bears in Coca-Cola Advertising

Coca-Cola first featured a polar bear in a 1922 French ad and for the next 70 years, polar bears appeared sporadically in print advertising. In the 1990s, the popular animated polar bears were created.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: Polar Bears

The Missing Rockwell Paintings

Coca-Cola commissioned six different illustrations from artist Norman Rockwell including four calendars, one billboard and one magazine ad for the Saturday Evening Post. Three of these originals are missing and Coca-Cola would like your help getting them back.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: Help Us Find the Missing Rockwells

Getting People to Try Coca-Cola in the 1890s

One of the first big challenges for Coca-Cola was to get people to take a sip. But owner Asa Candler was confident his refreshing concoction would find an appreciative repeat following — if folks would try it just once. So he tried a new marketing strategy.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: Coca-Cola & Sampling

Celebrating 100th Anniversary of Times Square With a Sign

When New York’s famous crossroads celebrated a big birthday in 2004, Coca-Cola came to the party with a present that was six-stories high.
Read the story here: Coke Lore: New Sign in Times Square