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

The Cobot


The Sochi Winter Olympics may be over, but I have some Olympic trivia for you: Who made their debut at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid as the world’s first ever ice-skating robot?  That’s right, it was “Cobot!”  This life-sized robot could skate with the best of them, appearing in news features with figure skating coach Gus Lussi and figure skating champion Jojo Starbuck.  The Coca-Cola Archives has a “Cobot” at our off-site storage facility where I recently snapped this picture.  Was anyone lucky enough to see “Cobot” in person at the 1980 Winter Olympics?

February 17, 2014

Behind the Scenes With 'Mean' Joe Greene

We recently told you about baseball legend Willie Mays' visit to Coca-Cola to share stories with us. We almost forgot to share this great video that the Coca-Cola Journey team produced when the star of one of the most famous Coca-Cola commercials of all time, 'Mean' Joe Greene, came to talk about the making of his 1979 commercial. Enjoy:

February 05, 2014

Willie Mays Hits a Coca-Cola Home Run!

Willie Mays at Coca-Cola standing

Although Willie Mays retired with 660 home runs, I think I witnessed him hit a 661st home run yesterday at Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta as he fascinated employees with stories of his life, career, and Coca-Cola (of course). Mays, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, was in town to speak about his time growing up with Coca-Cola in his native Fairfield, Alabama on through his professional career, when he was featured in Coca-Cola advertising beginning with this carton insert in 1952. Mays spoke about his famous plays on the field with baseball historian and announcer Marty Laurie, who served as moderator for the conversation. Mays also mentioned the fact that he was a huge fan of Coke and peanuts.

Before games he often played bunting games with his manager Leo Durocher and teammates Monte Irvin (who also appeared in a Coke ad) and Hank Thompson, wagering bottles of Coca-Cola. When one of them missed a bunted ball, they owed a Coke. And every few minutes they took stock. One day, Durocher yelled, "How do we stand?" One of the players shot back jokingly, "Durocher two, Irvin two, Thompson one and Mays eight." Mays asked surprisingly, "Why man? I only missed once!" The next time Mays made a nice stop, he'd say, "Now I'm all even. That was the redeemer!"

The New Yorker magazine once quoted Durocher as saying, "By the end of spring training I figured Willie owed me about one million three hundred thousand bottles of Coke."

An article in the 1954 issue of The Refresher magazine included the story of these games and mentioned that all of Mays’ New York Giants teammates kid him about his thirst for Coke. In fact, the cover story of the July 26, 1954 issue of Time magazine said Mays drank Coca-Cola by the case!

Willie Mays at Coca-Cola on stage

(L-R) Ted Ryan, Coca-Cola Company Director of Heritage Communications, Former AT&T and MediaLink Executive Eric Fernandez, Willie Mays and Baseball Historian and Announcer Marty Laurie. 

September 17, 2013

TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola Vintage Vendor

Vendo 44

The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola is one of my favorite golf tournaments. This event, which closes out the FedEx Cup Playoffs features the top 30 golfers in the world as determined by points the players have received for placing in events earlier in the year.  East Lake Golf Club has served as the home of the Tournament since 2005.

Since 2009, in addition to a pretty big check, the winner of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola has also received a restored, working vintage vending machine.  Terry Kimble of Remember When Collectibles  has provided the machines and we have helped set up the display to highlight the machine in front of the East Lake Golf Course.  

Vendor and Camera

This year, we have a beautifully restored Vendo 44 on hand for the winner.  We also have a twist, we worked with the editorial team from Coca-Cola Journey who filmed the restoration of the machine from beginning to end.  The pride that Terry takes in his work is very evident and the finished machine really does look like a work of art. You can watch the vido here.

I was at East Lake Golf Club yesterday morning as we had the machine placed in front of the Clubhouse and filmed the final delivery of the Vendo.  As you watch the tournament this weekend, you can be a bit envious that the winner will be taking home a check... and the Vendo! ^TR

April 12, 2013

A Pair of Pioneers: How Coca-Cola Introduced Mary Alexander to Jackie Robinson

Some 57 years ago, two historic African American figures met in the city of Atlanta at a sports event co-sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. The event was the Annual Sports Jamboree of the “100% Wrong Club”, a unit of the sports department of the Atlanta Daily World newspaper. The historic figures? Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, and Mrs. Mary Alexander, the first African American model to appear in Coca-Cola advertising. “That was the highlight of my life”, Mrs. Alexander shared with me a few weeks ago when recounting the experience. “I was modeling for Coke and they asked me if I would come to the [sports program] and I said, ‘Yes! What do I do?’ and they replied, ‘You just go there and meet the people and talk and drink Coke.’ I said ‘fine!’” In addition to meeting Jackie Robinson, she also met Branch Rickey, the general manager who signed Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

“I was so excited and so happy to meet both of them. And, I got their autographs!”, she told me while flipping through the program from that night and showing off each signature and the two Coca-Cola ads which appeared in its pages. “I talked to everybody I saw there and I told them I worked for Coca-Cola and we just had a good time!”, she added. In the photo in our Archives released from the event, Wilbur Kurtz, the first Archivist for Coca-Cola, and Coca-Cola special representative Moss Kendrix are pictured with Robinson, Rickey and others. Kurtz delivered a welcome for the occasion, on which Rickey won “The Pioneer Award” and Robinson and teammate Pee Wee Reese took home “The Two Friends Award.” Robinson received the award on behalf of himself and Reese, who was unable to be in Atlanta for the event which was also co-sponsored by the Atlanta Daily World newspaper and Atlanta Life Insurance Company. 

Since the movie about Jackie Robinson, “42”, opens in theaters today starring Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, I thought it was appropriate also to share the following video about the lady I affectionately call “Miss Mary”, who is one of my personal heroes!

October 14, 2011

Midnight Madness With Coca-Cola

Kentucky Coca-Cola Basketball Tickets FrontKentucky Coca-Cola Basketball Tickets BackI am a HUGE University of Kentucky basketball fan, and have been since 1993. So, you can imagine how delighted I was we received this a pair of tickets from a 2009 Kentucky game. They came in to the Archives with a collection of tickets with the Coke logo on them. The 2009-2010 team just happens to be my favorite Kentucky team in my nearly 20 years of rooting for them. Tonight is "Midnight Madness", or as it is called at Kentucky, "Big Blue Madness", which is the official launch of practices for the team for the season. At Kentucky, 24,000 tickets sold out in less than an hour to watch this event! Every now and then, I have to tolerate a colleague or two who prefer the Duke Blue Devils National Championship commemorative Coke bottles, but that's when I point them to the collectibles pictured below. Go Big Blue!

Kentucky Basketball 1996 National Championship Coke Can and Bottle

June 18, 2010

World Cup At The World Of Coke

WorldCupPicture With the first week of the FIFA World Cup in full swing I am getting excited by all the action and the vuvuzelas. If you want to experience some of the excitement here in Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola now has a special 3-D film airing that was shown during the World Cup Trophy Tour.  It is an exciting new addition that will only be there until July 5th.

If you miss that but still want to see some World Cup items, check out the Milestones of Refreshment gallery and keep one the lookout for a miniature version of the trophy.

February 26, 2010

Spotlight On The World Of Coca-Cola - Vancouver Torch Display

26520_336045854168_70067044168_3319108_2033409_nNow that the Vancouver Games are drawing to an end, I wanted to devote this weeks Spotlight on the World of Coca-Cola to the new exhibit that just opened featuring the Vancouver Torch.

If you are in Atlanta, relive some of the Olympic moments from the past two weeks and read the story of some of the Olympic Torchbearers.

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