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80 Years of Difference
Under the heading “80 Years of Difference” afri-cola celebrates its birthday this year. The highlight of the anniversary festivities: a limited-edition bottle (1,000 pcs) with its logo provocatively turned upside down, which is set to become an international design and collector’s item.
Like scarcely any other brand afri-cola has been synonymous with an attitude of rebellion, awakening and individuality. And its contents are equally “different” too: afri-cola stands out from all other cola-based beverages with an approximately 50% higher caffeine content. And apart from this the brand also owes its high popularity to the distinct wasp-waisted bottle developed in 1962 and the unmistakeable logotype plus stylised palm tree. For its anniversary afri now surprises us with a jubilee bottle that virtually puts the logo upside down.
The afri Story
In the late 1920s Karl Flach, General Manager of the German firm F. Blumhoffer Nachfolger GmbH, a manufacturer of essences for schnapps, liquors and lemonades, was inspired by the success of caffeine-based cola beverages on the local market during a trip to the USA. As a result he developed a novel recipe for a mood-enhancing soft drink based on cola nuts as an alternative to the American brands at the time. As early as 1931 afri cola and the stylised palm tree were registered as an international trademark.
In 1952 Karl Flach succeeded in launching another successful innovation: Bluna. As early as in the 1960s afri contains more caffeine than any other cola in the world. As the brand grows it also changes its design: 1962 sees the original relief bottle being replaced by a novel bottle type. The striking wasp-waisted bottle, which has served as a “unique identifier” for afri since, is the result of a design competition. In the late 60s the brand provokes the market with legendary advertising campaigns by artist and photographer Charles Wilp turning it into a symbol of the zeitgeist of the age: rebellion and resistance. The “sexy-mini-super-flower-pop-op-cola” is the latest trend. In the 70s Flach also conquers the rest of the world. afri’s first successful export activities start in the rest of Europe, Africa and the Arab world. Global distribution of the products is ensured by licensees all over the world.
In the late 1980s the company temporarily quit production and focused on brand building. In those years afri-cola was only manufactured under licence. 1996 saw a complete U-turn: The network of third-party bottlers in existence since the 1930s was abandoned and production centralised in one place. afri was then sold exclusively in the small original shaped bottles. All international production activities were transferred to contract producers and licensees – and afri heralded a comeback. Especially on the trendy, hip scene afri was “in” again. To mark its 70th birthday in 2001 the company introduced the first PET bottles in addition to glass bottles. Likewise, a diet version was launched. In 2006 afri was made with the original recipe again and started supporting its creative young talents with an in-house award. 2007 saw the first “afri style award” being presented and the first “Black Palmtree” awarded.
Today, the range includes not only the classic afri-cola but also the versions “afri power” containing 32mg of caffeine per 100 millilitre, vitamins and taurine as well as “afri sugarfree” as standard items.