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It is great from a can, still good from a bottle, yet hard to get just right from the fountain

The most famous drink in the world was invented on May 8, 1886 by Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia. At first it was just a syrup declared "fine" and sold for five cents a glass as a takeaway drink.

On May 8, 1886, Dr. John Stith Pemberton invented Coca-Cola, forever changing the history of eating habits around the world. The drink’s name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves and kola nuts (a source of caffeine). Since he was a pharmacist from Atlanta he had access to a variety of chemicals and natural ingredients. One day, he prepared a dark coloured liquid and decided to take it to his shop, Jacobs' Pharmacy, to mix it with carbonated water. At this point, a test was needed. So he had the customers of the pharmacy taste it, who greatly appreciated the delicious and refreshing drink. From that day Pemberton put the forerunner of the current Coca-Cola on sale at five cents a glass as a takeaway drink.

The logo as we know it today was invented and designed by Frank M. Robinson, Dr. Pemberton's accountant, who thought that the two Cs would have made a nice advertising logo. The Coca-Cola brand - written in its famous italics font - was born with a first advertising campaign dedicated to the drink appeared in the newspaper The Atlanta Journal, inviting citizens to try this "popular new take-out drink". The advertising campaign for the product launch appeared on the first awnings of the shops, on which the words "Drink Coca-Cola" stood out. But the beginnings were not exciting: in the first year they sold just about nine glasses a day.

In 1887 John Pemberton registered the copyright of Coca-Cola Syrup and Extract with the US Patent Office. A year later, disheartened by the lack of success of his invention and never fully convinced - and aware - of the drink's potential, he gradually sold the company's shares to various partners. Shortly before his death, he sold the rest of Coca-Cola to Asa G. Candler who bought back the shares of other holders until he acquired complete control of the company.

On May 29, 1886, the Atlanta Daily Journal published the first Coca-Cola ad.

Together with his brother - John S. Candler - Frank Robinson - John Pemberton's former partner - and two other partners, Mr. Candler opened The Coca-Cola Company, with a start-up capital of $100,000. They invested a lot in marketing with free coupons, promotions, souvenir fans, calendars, clocks, cup holders and so on. He did everything to advertise the brand and make it famous. In 1894 the first factory was born, in Dallas, Texas and a year later Candler made a famous announcement: "Today Coca-Cola is drunk in every state and territory of the United States". Under Candler’s leadership, sales rose from about 9,000 gallons of syrup in 1890 to 370,877 gallons in 1900.

First advertising

Throughout the years, the slogans used in advertising for the Cola have reflected not only the brand, but the times. Slogans provide a simple, direct way to communicate about Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola’s advertising has significantly affected American culture, and it is frequently credited with inventing the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in a red-and-white suit.

Coca-Cola delivery trucks

Coca Cola trade signs

The famous contour bottle

Bottlers worried that a straight-sided bottle wasn’t distinctive enough and that Coca‑Cola was becoming easily confused with ‘copycat’ brands. Glass manufacturers were approached to come up with a unique bottle design for Coca‑Cola. The Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, designed with the famous contour shape, which won enthusiastic approval from Coca‑Cola in 1915 and was introduced in 1916.

The 1915 Coke Bottle: A prototype of the first contour bottle developed by Root Glass Company in 1915. The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts.

If you gave me $100 billion and said take away the soft drink leadership of Coca-Cola in the world, I'd give it back to you and say it can't be done.

- Warren Buffett, American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist.



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