From the late 1940s to the 1970s, the United States, like most of the world, changed at an unprecedented pace. The Coca-Cola Company also experienced its most dramatic changes in marketing and merchandising since the advent of bottling in the late 1890s. World War II had recast the world, and the Company faced a new, more complex global marketplace.
Until the mid-1950s, the world of Coca-Cola was defined by a 6 ½-ounce hobble-skirt bottle or bell-shaped fountain glass. But as consumers demanded a wider variety of choices, the Company responded with innovative packaging, new technology and new products.
In 1955, the Company introduced the 10-, 12- and 26-ounce king-size and family-size bottles, which were immediately successful. Metal cans, first developed for armed forces overseas, were available on U.S. market shelves by 1960. Then, following years of research into plastic soft-drink bottles, the Company introduced PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) packaging in 1977 in the 2-liter size.
The Company also introduced new soft drinks to satisfy a widening spectrum of tastes. Born in Germany, Fanta® was introduced in the United States in 1960; today the Fanta family of flavored soft drinks has become one of the best-selling brands in the world. Sprite®, a lemon-lime drink, followed in 1961, and in 1963 the Company introduced TAB®, its first low-calorie beverage.
Change during the 1960s entailed more than new soft drinks. In 1960 the Minute Maid Corporation merged with the Company, adding frozen citrus juice concentrates and ades under the trademarks Minute Maid® and Hi-C® to the Company's array of beverages.
Through the years, jingles and slogans have set the pace for Coca-Cola advertising. One of the world's most famous advertising slogans, "The Cardboard advertisement from 1930Pause That Refreshes," first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1929. It was supported by "It's the Refreshing Thing to do" in 1936 and 1944's "Global High Sign." The 1950s produced "Sign of Good Taste," "Be Really Refreshed" and "Go Better Refreshed."
Many more memorable slogans followed, including "Things Go Better with Coke" in 1963. "It's the Real Thing," first used in 1942, was revived in 1969 to support a new, tremendously successful merchandising stance for Coca-Cola.
Fine illustrations by top artists including Norman Rockwell were featured in colorful ads that projected the product's image in leading magazines. Noted artist Haddon Sundblom's popular Santa Claus "portraits," which began in the 1930s, continued as holiday ads until the early 1960s.
Since the mid-1920s, radio had been the most important communication medium for Coca-Cola. In the 1960s, the popular "Things Go Better with Coke" jingle became a hit radio spot, using successful groups sang the jingle in their own musical styles.
The Company's advertising changed along with the world, reaching new groups of consumers through new channels, most notably television. On Thanksgiving Day 1950, Edgar Bergen and his sidekick, Charlie McCarthy, appeared on the first live television network show sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. As the medium evolved from program sponsorship to commercials that ran during different shows, many famous celebrities advertised Coca-Cola.
Through the years, advertising for Coca-Cola has changed in many ways, but the message, like the trademark, has remained the same.
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