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Coca-Cola: How it became world's iconic brand

Last updated on: February 2, 2013 08:56 IST

Coca-Cola: How it became world's iconic brand

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Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market.

Let's take a look at the history of one of the most iconic brands in the world.

Source: CNBC

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Image: All aluminium bottles of Coca-Cola products are pictured in this photo illustration photographed in Burbank, California.
Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters

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Coke in Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola was created in 1886. The original ingredient included five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup. Author Rick Allen pointed out in his book, Secret Formula, "Fluid extract of the coca leaf is cocaine and was in the original Coca-Cola for about the first five years".

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Image: Elevators, displaying the logo of Coca Cola, at a shopping centre in Kiev, Ukraine.
Photographs: Anatoli Stepanov/Reuters

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Coca-Cola: How it became world's iconic brand

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Bottled-up

In 1886 - Coca-Cola was a soda foundation beverage which cost five cents per glass. Next, the beverage became available in bottles.

1915 - Coca-Cola made a US patent trademark of the contour bottle to bring distinction of the Coca-Cola brand.

1977 - Coke introduced the plastic bottle but by 1994 the drink was available in the two litre bottle.

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Image: Patrons taste varieties of Coca-Cola at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
Photographs: Tami Chappell/Reuters
Tags: Coca-Cola , Coke , US

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Coca-Cola: How it became world's iconic brand

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Worldwide sales

1886 - Coca-Cola sold about drinks per day

1920 - 6.5 million drinks per day (which included bottles and fountain drinks)

1950 - 50 million soft drinks were sold per day

2013 - It's estimated at above two billion per day

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Image: A worker uses a forklift to transport cases of Coca-Cola, which will be delivered to stores, at a warehouse in the Swire Coca-Cola facility in Draper, Utah, United States.
Photographs: George Frey/Reuters
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Coca-Cola: How it became world's iconic brand

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Product range

The Coca-Cola Company has grown into the world's largest beverage company with nearly 500 brands with more than 3,000 products. Their line includes sparkling beverages, juices, coffee, tea, sports drinks and packaged water.

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Image: Cases of Coca-Cola zero, which will be delivered to stores, at a warehouse at the Swire Coca-Cola facility in Draper, Utah, United States.
Photographs: George Frey/Reuters
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Major advertiser

The first Coca-Cola advertisement cited an affordable nickel price and was touted as 'Delicious and Refreshing'. By 1906, the company was spending half a million dollars annually for ads.

In recent times their ad budget continues to grow. The company is spending nearly $2 billion on advertisements every year.

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Image: A man takes a bottle of Coke Zero out of a fridge at a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela.
Photographs: Edwin Montilva/Reuters
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Coca-Cola: How it became world's iconic brand

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The logo

The Coca-Cola logo was registered as a trademark in 1893. The logo has remained the same in Spencerian script.

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Image: A bottle of Diet Coke soft drink in Arlington, Virginia, United States.
Photographs: Jim Young/Reuters
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The mascot

The first mascot, Santa Claus, was introduced in 1931. Phil Mooney, Coca Cola's official historian says, "We started to think about Santa Claus. Well, here's a guy. He's gotta go all over the world in 24 hours. He's gotta be thirsty in the course of that evening. So, let him have a Coca-Cola".

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Image: A driver delivers Coca-Cola products to stores in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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The commercials

Coca-Cola commercials are placed in the most popular platforms with the same message decades apart. The Coca-Cola "Mean" Joe Green commercial aired during the 1980 Super bowl remains one of the most memorable commercials. The Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Back tosses his jersey to a young boy in gratitude for giving Joe Green his Coca-Cola.

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Image: A Burger King restaurant in Moscow.
Photographs: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

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The slogans

Since 1886 Coca-Cola has had notable slogans. They have been catchy and memorable taglines. Coca-Cola has used over 45 different slogans throughout the century.

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Image: An employee arranges cartons of Coca-Cola at a store in Alexandria, Virginia, United States.
Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
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The Olympics

Coca-Cola has been partners with the Olympics for more than 80 years. It was during the IX Olympic Summer Games when Coca-Cola made its first official appearance.

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Image: Coca-Cola products packaged for delivery in New York.
Photographs: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
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International foray

During World War II the Coca-Cola company decided to ship their soft drinks to United States military overseas. It created loyal customers and international exposure.

Today, the family contour of the Coca-Cola bottle is recognised all over the globe. These bottles are in French, Amharic (Ethiopian language), Spanish, Arabic and Dutch.

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Image: A pedestrian crosses a road in front of an outdoor Coca-Cola advertisement in Sydney.
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters

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Out of bounds

Coca-Cola can be found almost anywhere. The soft drink is sold in over 200 hundred countries except Cuba and North Korea.

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Image: Coca-Cola products are displayed on a kitchen counter in Golden, Colorado, United States.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters
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Personalised coke

Coke has come a long way from its soda fountain days. Soon you will be able to make your own personalised Coca-Cola drink through the new Freestyle Jet machine. The device features of touch-tone screen allowing you to create your own variety of Coke.

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Image: A delivery truck in Carlsbad, California.
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters
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Unique bottle

The famous Coca-Cola bottle, called the "contour bottle" within the company, but known to some as the "hobble skirt" bottle, was created by bottle designer Earl R Dean. In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for their beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles, "a bottle which a person could recognise even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was".


Image: Pedestrians walk past a reflection of a Coca-Cola delivery truck in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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