In the early years of Coca-Cola, many imitator beverages surfaced with similar-sounding names, such as “Koca-Nola”, and “Koke-Ola”, hoping to capitalize on the success of Coca-Cola, and fool consumers searching for “The Real Thing.”
This prompted The Company to place advertising that prodded consumers to “Ask for Coca-Cola by the full name – to avoid imitations and substitution.” The Supreme Court held in 1920 that the term “Coke” was an abbreviation of the world’s most well-known trademark, Coca-Cola, and is used by the public in designating the product of The Coca-Cola Company.
The Company was hesitant still to embrace the name “Coke”, until it finally gave in to the public’s affection for the brand’s nickname with a brilliant ad campaign that began in national magazines on June 1, 1941 that announced that “Coca-Cola is Coke”. “Coke is Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is Coke ... Both are the Registered Trade-marks which Identify the Product of The Coca-Cola Company.” One ad read, “It’s natural for people to use friendly abbreviations. That’s why Benjamin is called “Ben” and why Coca-Cola is called “Coke.”