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(established 1886)

Coca‐Cola is the most recognized brand in the world and has been closely identified with notions of consumption and democracy in the United States. Following the invention of the drink in 1886, the Coca‐Cola company was put on firmer foundations by Asa G. Chandler six years later. By the turn of the century he had evolved a prolific advertising campaign, the budget for which was $100,000 in 1901. Alexander Samuelson developed the Coca‐Cola bottle in 1913. Put into mass production two years later by the Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indiana, the new design was a response to the company's perceived need to develop an instantly recognizable product identity capable of protection by trademark and patent laws. In fact, the company's design brief was to ‘find a Coca‐Cola bottle which a person will recognize as a Coca‐Cola bottle even if he feels it in the dark. The Coca‐Cola bottle should be shaped that, even if broken, one could tell at a glance what it was.’ The distinctive Coca‐Cola script (as well as the name and slogan ‘Delicious and Refreshing’) had been designed earlier by company bookkeeper and amateur calligrapher, Frank Robinson. So commercially successful was Coca‐Cola over the following decades that by the time of the Second World War it was seen as such an evocative symbol of the American way of life that the company undertook to supply American troops with the drink wherever they were, thus maintaining morale. A similar strategy was repeated in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. After the war the American industrial designer Raymond Loewy designed the distinctive streamlined red Dole Deluxe Coca‐Cola dispenser in 1947, the Dole Super dispenser in 1951, and a Coca‐Cola bottle opener in 1956. In 1954 Loewy also turned his attention to a redesign of the distinctive bottle (redesigned several times in its long history), although he acknowledged that the original was ‘the most perfectly designed package in the world’. Loewy's brief was to give the bottle ‘a more refined silhouette’. Other ideas that Raymond Loewy Associates worked on for Coca‐Cola included a drinks cooler (1945) and a truck design (1946). Coca‐Cola has continued to develop globally whilst largely maintaining the visual characteristics of its brand identity and by the early 21st century was sold in more than 200 countries.

Subjects: Social sciencesSociology

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