After a year and a half in the making of the story, I finally got to meet Albie Louw today. I tried whistling the Coca-Cola Open Happiness jingle to him as I interviewed him at his piano this morning, but he said my pitch was "all over the place" (a common phrase people use to describe my singing, whistling and what have you). So instead, I pulled out my laptop and played him a clip that he remixed and jazzed up on the piano - wait until you see and hear that!
So, I learned today that Albie Louw was not allowed by his record company to pick any of his album covers. The art was always selected by the label. I knew Coke and music went way back, but did you know we were working with record labels and the music industry even in the 1950s and 1960s just like we are working with Spotify and Music Dealers now? In this April 7, 1960 letter written from our Johannesburg office to the Coca-Cola Export Corporation office in New York, Vice President Al Killeen tells exactly how Albie Louw's album cover came to be. He says, "I thought you might be interested in seeing how we capitalised in conjuntion with a local recording company, on the wonderful New York produced calendar material."
The "New York produced calendar material" referenced was the image used on Coca-Cola posters and other ads globally and Albie's album cover. We've got a number of calendars from around the world in our collection featuring the same image, including South Africa! As I told Albie this morning, if the model from this ad happens to be still alive, comes forward and says she is from South Africa, that would be the point I would have to pinch myself. In addition to the South African version of the calendar, I am attaching a few others we have in our collection from places such as Iraq, Turkey and Vietnam, in the local languages, of course.
More on Journey
- Driving Home the Message of Atlanta's Civil Rights Legacy
- The Story of Frank O'Hara's ‘Having a Coke With You’ Poem
- How Coca-Cola Brands Make it to the Big (or Small) Screen
- Muhtar Kent Reflects on His Coca-Cola Journey and Legacy as Company’s 15th Chief Executive
- A Slice of Coca-Cola History: Beloved Kentucky Bottling Plant Reborn as Mellow Mushroom Pizzeria