You may have heard the story that
While doing the research for four suitable characters, the employees found that a number of shopkeepers had also been looking for Chinese equivalents for
The character for “wax,” pronounced “La,” appeared in both signs because that was the sound the sign makers were looking for. Anyone who knew Chinese would recognize the signs as a crude attempt to make up an arbitrary phonetic combination – and get a laugh from the meaning!
Although the Company was primarily concerned with the phonetic equivalent of
All Chinese characters had more than one meaning, but K'o K'ou K'o Lê (depending on context) commonly meant what is seen here:
This combination for the Chinese trademark meant “to permit mouth to be able to rejoice” – showing the pleasure that could come from drinking Coke. That definition was a stroke of luck!
When this trademark was registered in 1928, most Chinese writing was vertical and was read down from right to left. The two characters at the right mean drink, then the Chinese trademark, and then Delicious and Refreshing.
And just for some background:
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