April 14, 2014


We recently got an interesting research request about a past promotion that featured Coke cans with money inside of them.  MagiCan was part of the “Magical Summer” promotion from the summer of 1990.  At the time it was the largest marketing and promotional campaign ever for Coca-Cola classic.  Nearly three quarters of a million MagiCans containing millions of dollars in cash and prizes were to be randomly distributed nationwide.  Although it looked like a regular 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola classic, the “magic” behind this can was a unique, instant-win MagiCan mechanism that popped out cash (ranging from $1 to $500) or prize vouchers when opened. 


MagiCan was supposed to be available from May 14th through August 15th of 1990 but was pulled early due to consumer complaints about “foul-smelling” liquid in the cans.  MagiCans were filled with water in order for to feel like a regular 12-ounce can, but malfunctions in the pop-up mechanism or faulty seals sometimes allowed the water to leak out.  While the water was tested and found to be harmless if consumed, Coca-Cola decided to end the promotion early in order to avoid any further negative press.  We have a few opened and unopened MagiCans in the Coca-Cola archives.  Does anyone remember this promotion or have a MagiCan in their collection?

April 09, 2014

Congrats to The Contour Bottle!


Congratulations to The Contour Bottle! Unlike the surprise winner of this year’s Men’s NCAA Championship, this one was somewhat expected as The Contour Bottle was the overall #1 seed. While it started out as a close vote with Santa Claus out to an early lead, it ended up with The Counter Bottle's 81 votes to Santa's 56.

It's the simple conduit designed 99 years ago so that consumers would know it even if they felt it in the dark, and it took on a life of its own ever since. The Contour Bottle is tried and true and still standing after five rounds of being tested - just like a returnable bottle, only this time, in the brackets instead of the market!

Thanks for playing along with us, and read the final report here.
March 27, 2014

Coca-Cola Advertising Icons Bracket Challenge

Coca-Cola Advertising Icons March Madness Bracket Challenge

I've always been a huge college basketball fan, but I decided not to fill out a bracket this year. If I had filled one out, it would have been toast by now. With the Madness of March upon us, we have launched a Coca-Cola Advertising Icons Bracket Challenge featuring an all-star cast of Coke advertising icons. 

Among the favorites are icons that Coca-Cola Collectors are fond of, such as Santa Claus, Sprite Boy and The Coca-Cola Red Disc. Lots of interesting match-ups! Fans can vote on the eight first-round match-ups on Coca-Cola Journey  through Sunday night. We’ll refresh the bracket after each round and declare a winner on April 7 or 8.

Vegas odds-makers are currently favoring the overall #1 seed, The Contour Bottle, but several insiders are predicting a Polar Bear upset. Get in on the action and cast your first round votes today at the link below:

March 25, 2014

Vivian "The Coca-Cola Girl"

The Coca-Cola Girls became well known through the Company’s advertising.  Beautiful, young girls graced the pages of magazines and smiled from roadside billboards throughout the teens and twenties.  In 1927, The Coca-Cola Company sponsored its first radio program – “The Voice of the Coca-Cola Girl.”  The program premiered on May 10, 1927 and introduced America to Vivian, "The Coca-Cola Girl".  For fourteen weeks, listeners tuned in to hear about the developing romance between Vivian and Jim.  They met each week in different parts of the country and visited many interesting places together.  Americans were drawn into their romance and the program was met with high praise.  

March 25, 2014

Lillian Nordica


Lillian Nordica (1857-1914) was a famous American opera star and actress who performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, Madison Square Garden, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Along with Hilda Clark, she was one of the earliest celebrities featured in Coca-Cola advertising.  Her image appeared on trays, calendars, posters and novelty items distributed by the Company beginning in 1904. In 1905, Nordica appeared in a full color magazine ad that was published in the leading magazines of the time including Good Housekeeping, Munsey's Magazine and Scribner's Magazine.  Attached to the bottom of the ad was a sampling coupon for a free glass of Coca-Cola at the soda fountain.  The coupon could be clipped from the magazine ad and redeemed for the free sample.  Almost $43,000 worth of coupons were redeemed in 1905 alone.

March 25, 2014


During the 1910s, Coca-Cola advertising featured a different “Coca-Cola Girl” each year. Often the same image of a woman was used on calendars, trays, pocket mirrors and other collectible pieces for the year. This “Coca-Cola Girl” is known as Betty and she first appeared on a 1914 calendar.  She is easily recognizable by her pink dress and fanciful hat.  An interesting fact is that “Betty” is not the actual name of the model but rather a name assigned to the artwork by someone in the advertising department.  Collectors know this pseudonym, and we use it in the Coke Archives as well.  Do you know the names of any other “Coca-Cola Girls?”

March 25, 2014

The Coca-Cola Red Disc


The Red Disc or “button” sign has been used to advertise Coca-Cola since 1947. The sign was originally designed in five sizes: 4 feet, 3 feet, 2 feet, 16 inches and 1 foot. The most common of the discs is metal with the red background, and white logo. A rarer version displayed fruit, a single bottle of Coke, a lobster, a 6-pack of bottles and anything a retailer would like to have custom printed.

Most of the discs were used outside a building and were combined with other signs, such as the name of the establishment. The strong graphic image became a cornerstone for outdoor point of sale signage, especially when placed at eye level and in areas where traffic moved slowly. In 1948, the discs began to be hung inside a place of business as advertising and decoration. Red Disc images also appeared in print advertising up through the 1960’s when the Arciform or “fish tail” signs began to be used.

March 25, 2014

The Budy Lee Doll


Buddy Lee dolls were made from 1920 to 1962, as an advertising item, for the H.D. Lee Company, Inc. Garment Manufacturers. The first dolls were dressed in Lee overalls and displayed in a Minnesota department store. Because Lee made uniforms for large companies, such as The Coca-Cola Company, a Buddy doll was made that had him dressed as Coca-Cola route salesman.  The uniform was identical to what the Coca-Cola route men wore, down to the hat, patch, and bow tie! Buddy Lee is 12 ½ inches tall and has eyes that glance to the side – he was even seen peeking at Jamal one day.

March 25, 2014

The Arciform Sign

Coca-Cola Arciform or Fishtail Logo

The Arciform sign (better known as the “Fishtail” sign) was unveiled at a bottlers meeting in 1958.  Within a year, this piece of advertising used in copy, signage, cartons and on vending machines. Unfortunately, by 1965, the design was phased out and replaced by the Red Disc, so familiar to everyone.  It was decided that “The red circle is our strongest visual association with the trade-mark”. 

February 28, 2014

Coca-Cola is the Secret!

1956 Coca-Cola Letter from Jesse J. Lewis to Mary Alexander

I interviewed Dr. Jesse Lewis, the man who hired Mary Alexander as the first African American model to appear in Coca-Cola advertising in 1955. Dr. Lewis has a very long and distinguished history in advertising, with Coca-Cola interwoven throughout his story. He was Public Relations Representative for the Birmingham Coca-Cola Bottling Company when he wrote the letter above to Mary Alexander regarding her role in Coke history as it were. As I interviewed him, I wondered the same thing that I have been trying to figure out about Mary Alexander as well: What is the secret to looking so great and having so much energy at their age? As Dr. Lewis confirms in this video, it must be Coca-Cola!