Coca-Cola looms large in American culture—so large, in fact, that enterprising fans figure out all kinds of ways to express their love for the brand. Check out seven whimsical, funhouse-mirror takes on familiar cans.
This Is Not a Coke
It’s the ultimate birthday cake for a Diet Coke aficionado. The unnervingly realistic-looking treat comes from Debbie Does Cakes, a “custom-sculpted cake studio” in Oakland, Calif. “My friend's wife is REALLY into her Diet Coke, and she loved the personalized can campaign,” explains artist and baker Debbie Goard. “He wanted to surprise her with something unique that both honored her devotion to the beverage and was special to her. We decided a giant can cake was the perfect surprise for her.” Made out of sheet cakes, buttercream and fondant, the foot-tall confection came personalized, of course, in the Share a Coke style, complete with a birthday greeting. “It was a hit,” Goard says. “Everyone loved the cake homage and said it was really cool.”
Something about the holidays brings out a surge of ingenuity among Coca-Cola fans. Case in point? This towering menorah that Rhonda Albom’s father assembled using 200 cans of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. When it comes to the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle,” writes Albom on her blog, “I am not sure that this was the reuse image anyone, other than my father, had in mind.” The sculpture has a yuletide counterpart in this office’s Christmas tree, made entirely of winter-themed Coke cans. (For a fall-themed feat, check out this seven-acre corn maze in the shape of a Coke bottle.)
Oupa and Elliot
Two of these “cratefans” were built for the 2010 soccer World Cup, according to artist Porky Hefer of South Africa. One, named Elliot, stands 20 meters (65 feet) tall and is made out of 4,200 Coke crates; Oupa is 16.5 meters (54 feet) high and 2,400 crates strong. One went to Cape Town, the other to Johannesburg, though both have since come down. Hefer says his creations, designed for Coca-Cola, were inspired by LEGO, a “reusable component system” that “fits perfectly” with the idea of recycling. The concept “had a great response” from the public, he adds, and Elliot, which stayed up for three years, “became part of the fabric of Cape Town.”
Classic, In More Ways Than One
The painted silo has stood in Emporia, Kansas, long enough that it’s become both a community fixture and a piece of the city’s history. Created in the mid-1980s, the silo pays homage to the classic can.
Larry DeBauge, who owned a Coca-Cola bottling company in town, owned the land where the silo sat and noted it was near a high school as well as a key turnpike — the perfect spot for some clever outdoor advertising. The top part reads “Go Spartans,” a nod to the local high school’s sports teams (and a “public service” measure that allowed the silo to pass muster with town authorities, according to DeBauge).
He literally had a dream about buying the bottling plant in 1972, and then found out the owner happened to be open to selling. “Two days later, we had a contract signed,” says DeBauge, whose son now runs the plant. “That’s not a religious experience, but it’s close.”
The Art of Suggestive Selling
Rob Pettifer didn’t have specific plans for this concession stand when he found it among a collection of discarded items near his home in Florida. All he saw was a project. “It had been neglected,” Pettifer says of the 8-ft. can. “It needed TLC.” So the self-described “fiddler” and mechanic who normally works on cars refurbished it. He replaced the rotted roof, among other repairs, and is offering the stand on eBay for $3,999.99. It currently awaits a buyer — in his front yard. “Loads of people go by and say, ‘Wow, that’s so cool,’” Pettifer says. “My wife’s like, ‘Can you buy it and get it off my yard?’”
Some of the most majestic Coke scale-ups require nothing more than time, access to social networks and often an obsession with video games. Videos on YouTube — some with more than half a million views — show gamers how to create everything from vending machines to the good old Coke-and-Mentos alchemy (1 million-plus views and counting). Perhaps you’ve never imagined a world where a waterfall of soda flows from a hulking Coke can on an idyllic hillside, but that world does in fact exist.
Coca-Cola’s “rich history of quirky slogans” inspired British footwear designer Sophia Webster’s shoe and handbag styles for her autumn 2015 collection, a collaboration with the brand. Both Cherry Coke and the classic figure into Webster’s collection, which, admittedly, doesn’t classify as oversize, unless you count the nearly four-inch heel.