How did Coca Cola become popular?
Coca Cola wasn’t always the mega brand it is today. But how did it get that way?
The story started in 1886 when a pharmacist, John Styth Pemberton made just another potion to sell in his pharmacy. This particular one was made of cane sugar, caffeine, coca leaf extract and kola bean extract. This produced a syrup that was diluted with water.
The name, Coca Cola, was created by Mr Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, who through his penmanship skills also designed the iconic logo seen on every Coca Cola product today.
Pemberton sold portions of his business to a number of pharmacies in Atlanta where he lived. Unfortunately he died a few months later but had unknowingly created a brand that would be recognised throughout the world.
The majority holder of Pemberton’s business was now a man named Asa Candler, who grew a distribution network across America through the use of Soda Fountains. By 1891 Mr Candler had bought out all the other share holders and was the sole owner of Coca Cola, forming the Coca Cola Company in 1892 and patenting the recipe the following year.
In 1894 a soda fountain owner in Mississippi named Joseph Biedenharn, first bottled Coca Cola after installing a bottling machine in his establishment. Just 5 years later, the rights to bottle Coca Cola, and thus allowing the first large scale Coca Cola distributor to become operational, was bought for just $1 by three Tennessee businessman.
Due to Coca Cola’s success imitations of the beverage where rife but in 1916 a special patented bottle, said to be modelled on the Kola bean, was produced which set the brand apart from all the rest.
That same year, Asa Chandler retired from the business and left it to his children. Their reign didn’t last long, as just 3 years later they sold the business for $25 million to Ernest Woodruff. After making his son president of the company in 1923, Coca Cola’s success grew as they were selling 6 million bottles a day. This success increased exponentially to the point where in 1950, 50 million bottles were being sold every day.
The success of Coca Cola is not only down to the exceptional product but in a large part down to Coca Cola marketing the product correctly. In 1897, a cutting edge tactic, for the time, was used by giving away coupons for free samples. This was followed up by newspaper advertising and the creation of promotional products to send to beverage distributors. In more recent times big budget TV advertisements are the preferred advertising method with the Coca Cola Christmas advertisement being one of the most iconic. Coca Cola were also the first company to sponsor the Olympic games in Amsterdam and have continued that commitment to this day.
All of this marketing has clearly had a big effect on Coca Cola’s global presence as it is now sold in over 170 countries and more than 600 million bottles are sold every single day!