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Live on the Coke side of life
In March this year Coca-Cola presented a new small packaging unit: the 0.25l can. This new packaging solution is designed to target especially the consumers looking for refreshments “on the go”. For more than 100 years Coca-Cola has been synonymous with lifestyle, freedom and a cult that has always hit the tempo of the time not least with its ever new packaging formats. The brand exudes a positive attitude to life, in line with the motto: "Live on the Coke Side of Life!"
Coca-Cola was modern, is modern and likely to stay modern. In over 100 years of company history and success story people from throughout the world have drunk their Coca-Cola from the most different types of packaging. Headquartered in Atlanta, USA "The Coca-Cola Company" is the world’s biggest provider of soft drinks boasting a portfolio of nearly 500 brands and approx. 3,000 carbonated and still beverages. By company accounts just under 1.6 billion products of this company are consumed every single day in more than 200 countries. However, Coca-Cola from the typical Coca-Cola bottle or can continues to be what has generated this international cult status.
The Coke Story
It is largely known now that everything basically happened by coincidence: in 1886 the American physician and pharmacist John S. Pemberton invented a syrup against headaches and fatigue. Mixed with soda it made for a refreshing drink: Coca-Cola. Pemberton’s bookkeeper came up with the name and also the logotype, which basically remained unchanged to this very day - thereby laying the foundation for the inimitable design.
In the first year the pharmacist sold about nine glasses at five cent per day. The true potential underlying this was only discovered by Asa G. Candler, who acquired the rights to Coca-Cola in 1888 for as little as $ 2,300. In 1892 he founded the "The Coca-Cola Company" to have a patent registered for Coca-Cola as a trademark only one year later. 1894 saw the drink being bottled for the first time and then business started booming. From 1899 the licence for bottling was issued to self-employed people, another cornerstone for today’s global distribution.
In 1916 Candler landed another strike: he fused rational packaging solutions with original design - and at the glass workshop "The Root Glass Company" the legendary, contoured bottle was born. In 1919 the company was sold for $25 million to a group of investors primarily focused on expansion. In 1919 they also managed to cross the Pond to Europe. Semi-automatic filling machines produced about 35 crates per hour back in 1930 - today the figure stands at more than 3,000. Business only took off properly in Europe though after WWII. And economic upswing went hand in hand with innovations: automatic bottle chillers, counter tapping devices, the big family bottle and the can. In the early 80s the fitness trend conquered the globe. Coca-Cola responded immediately by launching the low-calorie version "Diet Coke". This move by the company was what probably triggered the tremendous wave of "light" products in the entire international food industry.
A Bottle making History
The legendary contoured bottle is timeless design per se. It is both a symbol of brand and everyday culture. And this holds true for all five continents. The bottle with the "curved hips" is a milestone for modern packaging design and one of the few packaging formats to ever receive a trademark from the US Patent Office. "We need a bottle that everyone immediately identifies even by only touching it in the dark." This is said to be the brief given to the glass manufacturer back then. And he accomplished it - thanks to the external curvature of the bottle, fluting and blown logotype. A glass Tiffany vase is said to have served as an example. The original design in line with the then more curvaceous ideal of beauty had to undergo a slimming diet: the slimmed "waist" fitted the filling plants better. From 1956 the brand name featured on the bottle in white screen printing. 50 years later fluorescent labels followed for discotheques. Coming in ever new sizes, materials and designs the world’s probably most famous packaging has innumerable fans around the globe. Even today the contoured bottle is undisputedly considered the most accomplished three-dimensional industrial design of all times. It continues inspiring artists and designers alike. Limited Editions and design collections covering a wide variety of themes and motifs are coveted collectors’ items and aluminium bottle collectibles are gaining international cult status again. Outstanding Coca-Cola anniversaries are also marked with specifically designed, contoured bottles such as the Sleeve Bottle launched for the 75th anniversary of Coca-Cola in Germany. Or five years later when members of staff rather than agencies were invited to compete for the best design.
Always Innovative: Coke Cans
They are probably the only serious competition for Coca-Cola bottles: Coke cans. 1950 saw Coca-Cola being canned for the first time in the USA but initially only for the US armed forces. In the 60s cans became a trendy alternative in Europe, too. Consumers had become mobile, were driving their own cars and wanted to have beverage packaging "for the road". This wish was fulfilled by Coke cans. And these also became passionate collectors’ items and a global symbol of freedom, democracy and prosperity. Which is why the company has also cleverly launched limited can editions for specific occasions from day one. The football editions enjoy absolute cult status – no distance seems to be too far for fans to complete their collections. Since April this year the new 0.25 l can has complemented Coca-Cola’s packaging portfolio. It is small, light and handy. Extensive tasting campaigns support the launch of new packaging formats - incidentally right in time for the fan events staged on the occasion of World Cup 2010.