Coca cola is probably the largest company in the world. What started off as a kind of medicine in a little pharmacy in 1886 has now evolved into a world famous soft drink, having production units in about 200 countries. This paper shall discuss the ways in which the coca cola packaging has evolved over the years and briefly discuss the kind of impact different slogans and advertising campaigns have had on its sales.
Pemberton, a pharmacist invented coca cola in 1886 and Robinson who was the owner of the pharmacy suggested Coca-Cola as a name for his drink. Candler, Frank Robinson and a few others established the company of Coca cola in 1892.
Coca cola became popular as "coke" and was first bottled in 1894.The bottle has since then evolved greatly over the next thirty years yet the present design of contoured bottle of coca cola is one that has remained fairly consistent over the years. Various kinds of containers have been used for containing the mixture of syrup and carbonated water ranging from glass bottles to aluminum cans to plastic bottles etc. The changing colors, patterns and even materials of the coca cola containers have continued to capture the attention of millions of fans across the globe. The attractive packaging combined with the brilliant advertising strategies has made it a popular household name today.
First Generation of Coca Cola Bottles (1886-1930):
The people who invented coca cola were the first to sale it. They made a sign and hung it in the window saying Drink Coca-Cola and sold around 9 cups of their drink daily.
When the coca cola bottling plant was first set up by Joe Biedenharn in Atlanta the coke was filled in bottles called the Hutchinson style bottles. They date before 1900 and are extremely rare now. These were straight-sided, wide bottles having a very short neck. Some of them had the brand name while some didn't. They came in varying colors like clear, aqua, green, blue and amber. Those on which "Coca-Cola" was embossed in script letters contained coke while the "Coca-Cola" embossed in block letters contained a flavored drink other than Coke. The Biedenharn hutch is the one without "Coca-Cola" in script.
"By 1901, most Coke bottling was done using straight-sided bottles -- common looking pop bottles with a much longer neck. Many of these bottles, called "straight sided," also have paper labels glued to them instead of the embossing later used. Many were later embossed as well."(Gonzalez)
There were various types of straight-sided bottles mainly depending on where the script Coca-Cola logo was located like
Center slug plate script (1900-1905)
Base rectangular slug plate script (1900-1905)
mid body script (1900-1910)
base script (1902-1915.)
center diamond script (1907-1912) Only from Cumberland MD (amber and clear) and Toledo OH (amber).
Vertical script (1905-1910) Only from Milwaukee WI.
Vertical arrow script (1912-1916) All amber, primarily TN and KY.
Circular arrow script (1912-1914) All from Jackson TN (amber and aqua).
"The Coca-Cola "hobble-skirt" bottle became nationally known and appreciated soon after its 1916 introduction." (Pulos, p.259) It was the design of a Swedish immigrant and came in a variety of colors like clear, aqua, ice blue, and green. The bottle originally was to emulate the curves and lines of the coca leaf, which was also an ingredient of Coca-Cola but due to en error in communication between the designer and his assistant the bottle was designed after a cacao seedpod, which was the source of cocoa. However the design turned out to be a success so much so that the bottle could be recognized even in the dark because of its magnificent form.
Second Generation of Coca Cola Bottles (1931-1980):
The hobble-skirt bottle introduced in 1916 with slight modifications is still in use today due to its beautiful combination of form and function, which allows for a comfortable grip.
The "Christmas Cokes" as they were called were produced from 1928 to 1938.The reproductions of the same cokes were also produced later in 1989 with the difference that the reproductions had a circular line joining the state and city names. The following are the examples of a few more bottles that were produced during the time.
1. "PAT. D 105529" (called the "D-Patent Cokes") were produced from 1938 to 1951.
2. "U.S. PATENT OFFICE / MIN CONTENTS 6 FL OZ" were produced from 1951 to 1958.
3. "U.S. PATENT OFFICE / MIN CONTENTS 6 1/2 FL OZ" were produced from 1958 to 1965.
Later hobble-skirt bottles (i.e. Dec 25, 1923 patent and later) all have a green tint color. One exception are those produced during 1942-45; these were blue due to the copper shortage for WWII (copper gives the green color)." (Antique coke bottles)
In the 1950s for the first time consumers got to choose between the traditional 6.5 ounce contour bottle and larger servings including 10-, 12- and 26- ounce versions and aluminum cans were also introduced at about the same time. By 1960s coke became largely available in cans as well. In 1970 plastic bottles were in common use followed by the availability of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) in 1973.
Coca-cola's advertising strategies have always been unique as in World War II about 64 bottling plants were setup to supply the troops with coca-cola. As the army went into different lands coca-cola also explored new territories. One of the earliest and well-known examples of Coca-cola's strategies is the rendering of Santa Claus by artist Haddon Sundblom which was a round, happy, red-and-white American symbol of a new spirit. Coca-cola's slogans during the decade like "it's the real thing" and "America's preferred taste" really caught on with the people and helped increasing sales.
Third Generation of Coca Cola Bottles (1981-Present Times):
Coca-cola has seen a lot of commotion since the time it was launched in 1886 but all the competition has only served to thrust it even further in the market of soft drinks thus enabling it to become one of the world's largest soft drinks production company.
Although Coca-cola has the best advertisement campaigns and catchy slogans such as "Always coca-cola" that have caught the attention of millions of consumers across the world yet it still needs to introduce something new in its packaging style if it wants to keep the youngsters interested in the brand. "A Morgan Stanley survey of 25,000 customers in 2001 found that the coke brand was weaker among young people than at any other time in recent memory. The culprits? A slew of hip, new beverage brands from Red Bull to Starbucks to SoBe" (Gary Hamel p.10)
So in order to cater to the new public demands Coca-Cola has launched a thinner, longer version of Coca Cola's 12- pack of cans in the Carolinas. The new package called "fridge package" could hit other markets in the U.S. According to spokesman Lauren Steele, "The streamlined pack, consisting of a rectangle six cans long by two cans tall, is designed to fit easily on a refrigerator shelf, and has a tear-off section at the top so people can pick up one can at a time. The revamped package, which replaces the traditional design of four cans long by three cans tall, will be used for almost all the soft-drink brands the company bottles."(Coca-Cola Bottler Rolls Out New, Slimmer Soda Package) These packages were the first to be introduced in 2002 since the plastic contour bottles came into the limelight during early 1990s.
Coca-Cola is now seeking to experiment with aluminum bottles for some of their products including their Powerade® brand and soft drinks. In the U.S. they have already put an energy drink by the name of Raize® into an aluminum bottle. In Japan also it has launched its soft drinks in aluminum bottles into the market. The aluminum bottle is…