The Coca-cola brand, synonymous with the 'American way of life', has already conquered 200 countries with its original formula and a wave shape, which is also known as the 'dynamic ribbon device'.
Aggressive marketing tactics of Asa Griggs Candler, the first owner and founder of the company, led Coke to its dominance and made a widely sold commercial brand. It remained popular on the market of the 20th, and the first decade of the 21st centuries in spite of the criticism of its health effects.
The story began in 1886, when John S.Pemberton invented a drink, known today as Coca-cola. Originally, it was considered a patent medicine - the inventor believed it cured such diseases as morphine addiction, dyspepsia, headache and impotence. The Americans at that time believed that the carbonated water was good for health and bought Coca-cola for five cents a glass at soda fountains.
In 1886, only nine drinks were sold each day. This started the first advertising campaign for the beverage, on May 29, in the Atlanta Journal.
The first branding strategies of the Coca-cola Company are traced to the period of the World War II, when the first image appeared. During the war, Coke provided American soldiers with free drinks and represented itself as a patriotic drink. Thus, the beverage was welcomed as a reminder of home and became synonymous with America. Furthermore, when the Allies advanced, Coca-cola expanded its influence to the newly occupied countries, and American soldiers felt home with a taste of the drink.
Since the appearance of Pepsi, the major commercial rival, the company has experienced several times with the names and ingredients of their products. Therefore, New Coke, Coke II, Coca-cola Zero appeared in the market. The new brands, sometimes being not very popular, nevertheless, contributed to the Coca-cola image. Some people said that changing of the Coke formula was the same, as rewriting the American Constitution. This fact proved that Coca-cola was taken as a 'national brand'.
The lawsuit, which alleged the health hazard of Coke's caffeine to children, resulted in the company's policy- not to use children younger than twelve acting in its advertising. However, targeting the young customers could not be prevented. For instance, the specially designed label with Santa Clause in red-and-white garments made the brand universally recognizable not only among the children. Moreover, the conception of the brand followed the national Christmas tradition of America. The same winter, the commercial song "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", produced by Billy Davis, contributed to the advertising campaign promotion.
Coca-cola has undertaken many branding steps during its history. In 1928, it was the first-ever sponsor of the Olympic Games in Amsterdam. In 1982, Columbia Pictures became of Coke's ownership and provided the company with a subtle advertising in many of its films. The company's product placement continued untill 1989, when Columbia Pictures was dropped by it. In 1996, Coca-cola was advertising for free in the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the motherland of Coke.
The history of the company shows that the efficiency of aggressive marketing, started by Candler, was not truly realized until the company's 50th anniversary. It successfully exemplifies the adequate perception of the epoch icons and timely reaction to the market requirements.