April_fools_coke_genuineAlthough it’s the custom on April 1 to play a trick or -- in the case of a website -- write something that is a joke, I actually wanted to take today to tell you about some early tricks other companies played on the people who drank Coke.

This is an ad from Canada from 1917. You’ll see the ad focuses on genuine Coca-Cola and Coke in the bottle. “Similar names and half-names can’t deceive your palate even though they may attempt to trick your ear,” the ad says.

Early on, other companies tried to benefit from Coke’s success by having names, logos and labels that were extremely similar to ours. Competitors’ names ranged from “Sola Cola” to “Koca-Nola” to my favorite “Coke-Ola.” And, to add to the confusion, everybody used very similar bottles (even when we were not intentionally copying each other).

That’s why we introduced the contour bottle. It was so distinctive people could recognize it as a Coke bottle -- even with their eyes closed (or dipping their hand into a cooler full of bottles). That’s also why our advertising focused on the genuine nature of Coke, often reminding people to “demand the genuine” and “accept no substitutes.”