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Coca-Cola Stays Classic as the Brand Reaches Its 125th Anniversary

If you’re a living human being (which, chances are strong that you are), you’re already very familiar with a product called Coca-Cola. Know why you’re familiar with it? Because it’s 125 years-old, that’s why!

Just yesterday, the Coca-Cola Company celebrated its 125th anniversary (or its “quasquicentennial,” if you will), a milestone that very few companies are skillful enough, savvy enough, or just plain lucky enough to hit. I mean, how many brands out there can say that they’ve been a cultural mainstay for a century and a quarter? Hint: not very many.

Our overlooked tendency to order a large “Coke” instead of a large “soda pop” is testament enough to the brand’s ubiquity. Sure, we’re getting the same beverage either way, but at least we’re adhering to a post-1950s vernacular. Of course, the company’s achievements are slightly more significant than that.

Just add "Coca-"

As a business, the Coca-Cola Company seems to have done alright for itself. Their product is sold in more than 200 countries throughout the world and they’ve managed to retain one of the most recognizable insignias in history. Between the vivid red and white coloration and that unmistakable cursive font, it’s hard to imagine a more iconic emblem for a beverage. Coke’s brand image has become an irremovable element of our collective unconscious and a testament to the spirit of modern innovation. Though numerous brands currently share the carbonated beverage market with Coke, few have managed to achieve the same status.

Pictured: Old Man Winterbottom

Even more significant is the emotional resonance—fostered by 125 years in the market—that the brand evokes. Coca-Cola is more than just another successful brand entity. It’s been around long enough to become a much-appreciated part of our lives. I often look back on fond memories of how the brand’s early days coincided with my own. Seems like it was only yesterday when my pals and I would stop by Old Man Winterbottom’s general store for some penny candy, a copy of Life Magazine, and of course a tall, frosted bottle of Coke. We’d spend hours on the shop’s front porch in the middle of a humid summer afternoon, playing marbles and dreaming of the day when one of us would muster up the courage to ask out Polly Parker, who we were all sweet on at the time.

Okay, those aren’t really my memories, but I guarantee that at one point or another they belonged to someone. After all, Coca-Cola was around when our great-grandparents were just little tykes dreaming of a better tomorrow. A tomorrow that their grandchildren currently take for granted.

One thing is for sure: Coke is a brand we can always count on having around. There’s little doubt that they’ve at least got another 125 years left in them, and it’s impossible to see that as anything but a good thing. Their competition will come and go, but Coca-Cola will undoubtedly remain classic!

*Image Credits



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. cyberneticSAM

    I told you not to post that terrible picture of me as Old Man Winterbottom!

  2. Jana Quinn

    Nice article! Your reflection on your early days with Coke and Old Man Winterbottom reminds me of my own memories at my brother’s baseball games. Those were the days.

    I’m definitely a Coke fan (vs. Pepsi). To be fair, I’ve never participated in a blind taste test, but I always pick Coke if I have the option. Maybe it’s because I like red. Ah, the insane little details that influence what we buy!

    Coke is so old that it’s picked up tons of urban legends associated with the brand. Check out the Snopes page: http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/cokelore.asp

    Cokelore! Snopes has its own website devoted to Cokelore!

    Ooh, Joe, it looks like you used “alright” when that’s not even a word; it’s “all right.” I’m afraid your points go back down to zero. Rookie mistake, my friend.

    • Jill Tooley

      It’s technically a word, although it’s frequently debated: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alright

      The way I see it, if Sarah Palin’s nonsense words can be added to the dictionary, then alright should be allowed! :)

      • Jana Quinn

        I used to be a pretty harsh prescriptivist, but I’ve relaxed a bit. A BIT. Give me time. ;) We all need to understand one another. On the other hand, I don’t know how much I’d like it if we all sounded like Chaucer. Technology and other advances require that language grow and evolve to develop new meanings and derivatives. That doesn’t mean I need to like it.

        “Alright” is a word like “irregardless” and “alot” are words. They’re used incorrectly so frequently that they’ve become recognized in a common understanding of meaning but have yet to achieve acceptance in standard writing.

        I have to agree with Grammar Girl here, though: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/all-right-versus-alright.aspx

        Expect me in the parking lot tomorrow with a picket sign: ALRIGHT IS ALL WRONG.

        As a side note, “ain’t” is also in the dictionary.

        Also, equating Joe with Sarah Palin is not very nice. ;)

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to bathe every veyne in swich licour.

        • Jill Tooley

          The day you do that is the day you’ll know that there’s WAY too much time on your hands! ;) I’m alright with “alright.” It’s the least of my worries. I have bigger fish to fry…like “supposebly” and “for all intensive purposes.” ::SHUDDER::

        • That Guy At Work

          You’ll love this link: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html

          I use it whenever I’m unsure about a word or phrase.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Ooh, Jana, you’re just going to have to accept my refusal to let the laws of proper grammar chain me down. I play by my own rules, ‘cuz I’m “MidWest” like that. ;)

      But in the interest of gaining my points back, perhaps I’ll borrow that Snuggie again.

      • Jana Quinn

        Hey, I might not have said anything if you didn’t have the “perfectionist” bit in your bio challenging me. :)

        MIDWEST!!

        That error was fairly egregious, and I might require something like making you listen/participate in a comic book discussion. I’ll have the board review it.

        • Joseph Giorgi

          “Egregious” you say? I’m not so sure. Actually, I figured that my shortening of the word “because” to “‘cuz” in my earlier response would have been cause for greater concern. If I can get away with that, I should be able to get away with “alright.”

          Alright? ;)

          • Jana Quinn

            “Cuz” is a written expression of a verbal dialect feature. Because “alright” and “all right” are pronounced the same way, you can’t hide behind that excuse.

            I do appreciate the debate tactic of citing precedent, though. Moving the goalposts is also an effective one. ;)

            • Joseph Giorgi

              Wow, you’re really not going to let me get away with this, are you? Seems I’ve stumbled upon a pet peeve of yours, Jana.

              I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

              ;)

  3. Jill Tooley

    125 years?!? Congratulations, Coca-Cola!

    Although I’m more of a Pepsi girl, I have to admit that Coke has done incredibly well for itself. Everyone recognizes their logo and they’ve become a household name. Plus, you know you’ve made it when people scramble and fight to collect your brand’s memorabilia at flea markets and such! They’re on the right track, that’s for sure. There’s little doubt in my mind that they’ll be around another 125 years.

    It’s funny that they had the opportunity to buy Pepsi but turned it down…I bet they’re kicking themselves now. Who knows, their name could have been even bigger if they’d seized that chance!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      They had the chance to buy Pepsi? Talk about a missed opportunity! Reminds me of how Blockbuster once had the opportunity to buy Netflix. Hindsight is 20-20, I suppose.

      • Jill Tooley

        Yep, back in the 1920s or 1930s, Pepsi went bankrupt and essentially went up for sale. They offered Coca-Cola a good price on the off-chance they’d buy it, but they refused because (rumor has it) they didn’t see Pepsi as a threat. Someone else ended up buying it and it eventually made a comeback! Weird, huh? It’s EXACTLY like the Blockbuster/Netflix thing!

        • Jana Quinn

          AW, SNAP!! Nice move, Coke. Can you imagine the soda monopoly they would have on the industry?

          Jill, I will be forever impressed by your random knowledge. :)

    • Jana Quinn

      You’re a Pepsi girl? We need to have a blind taste test. We could do it with blindfolds and then while seeing the cans to see if our opinions match up on each trial. I have always genuinely wondered if it’s just the red can that makes me love Coke or if there’s really a difference.

      • Jill Tooley

        I’m down! I’m certain I could tell the difference; Pepsi tastes much sweeter to me for some reason. But I do love a good Cherry Coke! :D

        • Amanda Sneed

          A blind taste test would be fun! But I agree Jill, even though it would be blind, I think we would all know which is which. Pepsi is much sweeter! And Coke has more of an after taste I think. ;-)

  4. Bret Bonnet

    I married “Polly Parker”! :)

    … Also, Coca Cola, as AMAZING as their accomplishments might be, I have a hard time celebrating them after watching the moving “Blue Gold”:

    http://www.bluegold-worldwaterwars.com/

    It’s amazing how successful one can be when you exploit the worlds water supply for your own profit/gain! :(

    I think I’m going to trademark, sell, and license AIR. Just watch me do it! :)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      First off, if anyone’s going to successfully license “air,” it will most likely be Apple. And it’ll cost us roughly 99 cents per breath.

      I think I started watching “Blue Gold” on Netflix a while back but never finished. I’ll give it another go one of these days.

  5. JPorretto

    I saw a chart of all the logos that Coke and Pepsi have gone through. Pepsi has changed about every 10 years. Coke has barely changed in 100. I think Pepsi is trying to keep up with the times, but Coke has found that iconic logo that doesn’t need changing. Coke 1, Pepsi 0

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Pepsi’s newest logo redesign is strange. It’s similar to what they’ve always had, but different enough to be slightly off-putting. I think they mentioned that they’re going for the look of a “smile” or a “smirk” with their new logo, but it just looks weird. Maybe it’s just me.

  6. Amanda Sneed

    Nice post Joe! =) Wow, 125 years! Well done Coke. I have always preferred Coke over Pepsi, even though I don’t drink much pop.

    Coke is one of those awesome household names that is so popular, that we ask for a large Coke instead of a large pop, as you said Joe. I love the product brands like this that are so massively popular, we call them by their brand rather than what they actual are. More examples: Bandaid rather than bandage, Kleenex rather than tissue, Xerox instead of photocopy, Sharpie instead of permanent marker,Post It instead of sticky note, etc. Those are some serious brands!!

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Very true! The brands you mentioned are probably the ones that other brands aspire to be like. Actually, I think there’s a technical term for when the name of the brand becomes the general name for the product, but I can’t think of it right now.

  7. Terje Sannarnes

    There are no doubts that Coca Cola can serve as a really good example of successful product promotion and brand development. It is one of the most recognized brands worldwide.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Agreed. It seems as though there’s no end in sight for the ubiquity of their brand influence. I think we can all agree that Coca-Cola is doing something VERY right, and I for one hope that they can keep it up for another 125 years!

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