Consider the following three messages:
1. “Each morning in the open air, take exercise to help keep fit.”
2. “Proper nutrition is essential for a sound mind and a healthy
3. “Coca-Cola is thoroughly compatible with sound, well-balanced
Each is a message concerning well-being. Each echoes the beliefs
of The Coca-Cola Company in 2013.
The surprising fact about these messages is that although they naturally
fit right in with components of the new Coca-Cola Coming
Together infographic, none of them are actually from 2013. Nor are
they from the 2000s, or even the 1990s, for that matter.
The messages are from Coca-Cola in 1938, 1973 and 1960, respectively.
It would be easy to assume that the four
worldwide business commitments The Coca-Cola Company announced on
May 8th to promote health and well-being were reactionary measures in
response to recent criticism aimed at the brand Coca-Cola. In actuality, the
commitments are just the latest step for a company that has consistently encouraged
people to get active and lead healthy lives for many years.
As far back as 1938, just two years after celebrating its 50th anniversary,
The Coca-Cola Company produced and distributed a board game called “Steps to
Health” to consumers in Canada. “Steps to Health” stressed the importance of daily
exercise and a balanced diet. Daily activities highlighted in the board game –
such as outdoor play – were based on the “Malden Health Series,” a popular collection
of books in the 1930s designed to educate teenagers on proper steps to health.
Coca-Cola System for Good
The scale and reach of The Coca-Cola Company and its brands are
unique, and the company has leveraged this for good throughout history – by distributing
refreshing products or resources and information to help contribute to
healthier, happier communities worldwide. Local Coca-Cola bottlers have played
an integral role. In 1960, bottlers distributed a booklet called “Eat Right, Be
on the Ball and Have Fun” to educate teens on building strong bodies and
keeping fit through transparent nutritional information designed to help
parents, educators and nutritionists drive home the principles of sound
nutrition. It was the collaborative work of distinguished national and
international authorities in the field of nutrition.
Locally Executed, Global Physical Activity Programs
In the 1976, Coca-Cola and FIFA partnered to launch the World
Football Development Program, an educational effort designed to share soccer
technology, teaching and training to get youth active in up to 100 countries
where soccer was a relatively young sport at the time. Developed as a global program
to be executed at the local level, the initiative included resources such as “Go
For Goal” youth soccer training kits produced in dozens of languages in various
countries. In addition, Coca-Cola and FIFA worked with national soccer organizations
in many regions – such as the Philippine Football Association in the Philippines
and the United States Soccer Federation in the U.S. – to bring seminars
conducted by soccer experts to countries as diverse as Ethiopia, New Zealand,
Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Venezuela. Karl-Heinz Heddergott, who was considered
the world's foremost expert on teaching soccer to youth, was the featured coach
at events and in instructional films.
The company produced dozens of instructional sports films
from the 1950s through the 1970s to encourage physical activity. The films,
which often featured famous coaches and athletes such as tennis player Arthur
Ashe, baseball player Willie Mays and UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, trained
athletes on exercise and physical fitness. They were made available as a public
service to coaches, athletic clubs and sports teams and distributed through
local Coca-Cola bottlers.
through the Years
Even as Coca-Cola continues to “Get the
Ball Rolling” today with summer programs, the company has always helped to build
awareness around energy
balance and movement. Case in
point is a 1974 Coca-Cola film aptly titled “Get Movin,’” which emphasized the
importance of good physical education and to encouraging young people to be
involved in physical education programs. In 1970, the Australian division of
Coca-Cola produced a physical fitness film and booklet entitled, “Get Fit… Keep
Fit.” A year later, the division released a follow-up film and booklet titled
“Be Active… Be Attractive.” All resources were made available to Coca-Cola bottlers
around the world.
Choices Come in Many Tastes,
Shapes and Sizes
In 1955, Coca-Cola packaging first became available in
multiple sizes, allowing consumers to choose between the 6.5-ounce, 10-ounce
and 12-ounce bottles. Five years later, the first can was introduced. Many
packaging innovations launched from that point, including the first mini cans
in several countries in the 1970s. The first Coca-Cola mini can introduced in
the United States was the 8-ounce can launched in California and given the
nickname, “California Compact.” Today, many brands are offered in smaller
The company has offered low- or no-calorie beverage options for
more than 50 years, beginning with the introduction
of TaB, the company’s first diet product, in 1963. Early advertising for TaB carried the line, "At last, robust
flavor in a 1 calorie soft drink." Three years later, the company introduced
Fresca, a citrus-based, sugar-free product. The biggest launch of a diet product came in
1982 with the introduction
of Diet Coke, which became the biggest-selling low-calorie soft drink
within a year in the U.S. and, within its first two years, reached 19
With a heritage of providing consumers with beverage
options, The Coca-Cola Company continues to expand its portfolio to meet people’s
evolving needs and get people moving by supporting physical activity programs.
On May 8th, our company also made a new commitment to
responsible marketing, including no advertising to children under 12 anywhere
in the world. This commitment expanded a policy introduced on Sept. 13, 1956.
When considering the question of why the company has invested so
many resources through the years into physical education and active, healthy
living programs, the answer is simple: Coca-Cola is very much a part of every
local community in which the product is available, and Coca-Cola is and has always
been committed to the well-being of those communities. While the world has
changed over 127 years, The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to understanding
consumers and making a positive difference in their lives and communities has
not. It’s in our DNA.
All of the Coca-Cola global
well-being commitments build upon our history and initiatives that
are already being implemented in many countries. Indeed, this is the next step
in our journey.
of Coca-Cola in Atlanta recently
unveiled a new “Active, Healthy Living Through the Years” exhibit that features many of the artifacts
mentioned in this article. The exhibit celebrates the many ways Coca-Cola has
been coming together with
partners to get people moving throughout the history of the brand.