In the rankings of the world-famous iconic brands, Coca-Cola certainly arrives in the top positions. However, there was no reason to believe that the delicious drink of the same name developed in 1886 by the American pharmacist John Stith Pemberton met with international success. It was without counting on a seasoned businessman who knew how to transform the drink into a brand by developing a strong identity at national and international level. The evolution of the Coca-Cola logo is also a reflection of the development of a company that has become one of the largest in the world in the agri-food sector.
Let's take a look together at the incredible story of the Coca-Cola logo.
When a newly created drink becomes a brand
The story of Coca-Cola began in the mid-1880s, and was started by the Pharmacist John Stith Pemberton.
After developing many drugs without success, he created an alcoholic drink meant to help him to detoxify himself from morphine.
Made from natural products (coca leaves, kola nuts and damiana), it will be called the "French Wine Coca".
But here, the city of Atlanta banned in 1885 alcoholic beverages. Pemberton, convinced to have developed a unique recipe will then decline in non-alcoholic version to create a gaseous drink flavored with unique taste.
A few months later, he had it tasted in his pharmacy and invited his clients and friends to return to him so that he could improve the recipe.
The returns are unanimous: the drink is refreshing and revitalizing and would be nice to share with friends. He then decides to market it in his pharmacy at the price of 5 cents for a glass (the equivalent of 0.04 €) under the name of "coca-cola", a name chosen by his business partner, Frank Robinson.
But success is not really at the rendez-vous, and sales do not take off (9 glasses sold on average per day).
Finally, it's after his death in 1888 that his drink will convince the Americans, but not only that ... It must be said that in 1891, for 56 000 today dollars, Asa Griggs Candler bought the rights of "coca-cola" and he immediately transforms the drink in to a brand.
Il reprend alors le logo Coca-Cola qu’avaient imaginé Pemberton et Robinson.
Using the Spencerian font Script enriched with an new Art style, it finally differs a little from the one we know today. Just note that the trade mark is originally in the "C". Candler will put this logo on agendas and notebooks, the goal being to make the brand known to the largest number of consumers.
A strategy that will pay off ... 1940-1970: Huge amount of Adjustments
After a last attempt to make the Coca-Cola logo more playful in 1891, which ended in a bitter failure, Candler decided to deposit the brand's initial logo in 1893.
Finally, this logo will not evolve until 1940, when because of a regulation changes will cause a slight adjustment.
La mention de marque déposée va quitter le lettrage du « C » pour prendre place sous le logo. Il en sera ainsi pendant une dizaine d’années.
In fact, in the 50s, Coca-Cola's marketing teams wanted to communicate better on sales outlets and wanted their product to become a must. The company logo is available in several versions.
As early as 1947, the "Red Disc" made its appearance.
As its name indicates, the logo is integrated in a red disc which contains, in bottom, the famous bottle Contour.
This version was intended to facilitate the association between the brand and the original design of Coca-Cola bottles. An initiative that has paid off so much sales gone up. A few years later, the "Fishtail Form" is needed. Taking its name from its resemblance to the ends of a fish's tail, it is particularly surprising in its original form, since for the rest, it is neither more nor less than the Coca-Cola logo on a red background. It was used until 1965.
1970 - today: the Dynamic Ribbon changes the game
Coca-Cola has always sought to adapt to its audience. No wonder then that in 1969, at a time when hippies preach free love, the American company makes some changes to its logo by giving it a "Dynamic Ribbon" which will be translated into France in "wave / Vague" . Under the logo, this wave will become one of the key elements of the Coca-Cola visual identity.
It will also settle there until 1993 but its disappearance will be short-lived since it will return in the 2000s. It will even be added some bubbles but this improvement will not convince and will be quickly abandoned.
Finally, it is a version of the Coca-Cola logo of 2009 which is used today by the American company and it is, it must be admitted, very close to the original logo.
Over the past 10 years, the brand has been illustrated with beautiful communication shots such as the operation "personalized bottles", bottles stamped with the 150 first names most used in France being put on sale. what Consumers appreciated ...
130 years have passed since the creation of the Coca-Cola recipe and just as much since the design of the first Coca-Cola logo. Well, it is clear that both have changed just a little over the years.
John Stith Pemberton and especially Frank Robinson would probably be proud to see that their drink is the most appreciated on the planet and that the voluptuous and dynamic logo imagined to promote it has become one of the most emblematic logos on the planet.