Coca Cola was created by Pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton. He developed the formula for the famous soft drink in his backyard on May 8, 1886. Dr. Pembertons bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, came up with the idea for the unique cursive logo that has been the trade mark ever since. On May 29, 1886 the very first ad appeared in the Atlanta Journal:
Coca-Cola. Delicious! Refreshing! Exhilarating! Invigorating! The New and Popular Soda Fountain Drink, containing the properties of the wonderful Coca plant and the famous Cola nuts. For sale by Willis Venable and Nunnally & Rawson.
Dr. Pemberton died shortly after this ad and sales plummeted. Robinson didnt want the business to fail and decided advertising was at fault- people did not know what they were missing.
After the Coca Cola trademark had been patented, Asa G. Candler, an Atlanta businessman, purchased the rights to the product and formed the corporation, The Coca-Cola Company. He began the push on Coca-Cola advertising by giving thousands of tickets away for free glasses of Coca- Cola, and advertising on outdoor posters, calendars, soda fountain urns, and wall murals and making Coke available everywhere. The invention of bottling in 1894 increased availability of the soft drink.
The company hired William DArcy in 1906 to head up advertising and he believed that advertising should show that Coca-Cola is a part of happy times in everyday life. This type of advertising was used for decades. One of the first newspaper ads showed a picture of Ty Cobb, a baseball star up at bat and said:
Somethings bound to happennerves a tinglehead whizzing. Crack!! Good boy Ty!! Safe!! And then you shout yourself hoarse. When its all over youre hot, thirsty and limp. A cold, snappy drink of Coca-Cola will put you back in the game- relieve the thirst and cool you off.
DArcy found this baseball ad to be a success because everyone loves baseball. He felt as though it affected the readers senses which made him or her feel thirsty for a Coca-Cola. Other ads that appealed to the consumers sense of pleasure in associations with Coke included an ideal American girl drinking Coke, business men drinking Coke aboard an American Pullman train car and young people enjoying Coke out on a boat ride. In 1929 Coca-Colas most famous slogan, The Pause That Refreshes appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.
Shortly after the above slogan, the Great Depression hit America and the Stock Market crashed. However, Coca-Cola continued to stay with the ads that showed happy scenes of everyday life. These ads helped people escape the realities of the depression and gave them hope that life would return to normal. Examples included a woman taking a break from gardening to refresh herself with a Coke, boys and girls in soda fountain ads and Artist Haddon Soundons famous image of Santa Claus with a Coke on billboards. The people responded to these ads and Coca-Cola stayed profitable even during the depression.
World War II had a major effect on Coca-Colas advertising decisions in the next few years. Their war time policy was We will see that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents wherever he is and whatever it costs. The company wanted Coke to be a boost for morale and to promote patriotism. The ads replaced the boys and girls at the soda fountain with smiling soldiers. Another ad in 1943 urged people to buy war bonds and war stamps and still another showed two women allies enjoying the pause that refreshes. Coca-Cola wanted to show that they were part of the American war effort. The famous red Coca-Cola disk gave the image of the American way of life before the war and during the war. The interactive advertising strategies and techniques before and during the war made success possible and made Coca-Cola an American icon today.
This success for Coca-Cola did not come without some competition, problems and cost. In the mid thirties a serious competitor was new to the market with surprising success. Pepsi was offering twelve ounces of soda instead of Coca-Colas six ounces for the same nickel price. Pepsi had the first advertising jingle on the radio which people called the station