I’ll be honest, one place I didn’t expect to ever find myself was at a museum dedicated to the world’s biggest brand. Partly because prior to this Atlanta visit I never even knew such a thing existed. My associations with that fair city were around CNN, Martin Luther King Jr, Scarlett O’hara, even the Centres for Disease Control but never Coca Cola. But there I found myself, in Hotlanta, on a Saturday afternoon at the end of a surprisingly long ticket line gamely checking it out. This many folks were keen on Coke? Surprise surprise.
So I get my ticket and head in. First level into the “museum” where about 30-40 folks are let through together. We are milling around in a dimly lit room whose walls are an homage to Coca Cola. The room is a treasure trove of decades of Coke marketing memorabilia, from the first multiracial Coca Cola ad, to Coke signs and gizmos in what seems like every language on the planet. I started to realize that truly truly, this is a brand that belongs to all of us, irrespective of global location. I think about the most remote rural areas I’ve traveled to and recall that indeed there is always that ubiquitous bottle with the red and white band. And in many of those far flung places, its actually the safest bet for quenching ones thirst!
So I won’t spoil the show for you because actually it’s pretty cool, but I will share a couple of my favourite tidbits from wandering about the World of Coca Cola.Coca Cola is a constant feature at the modern Olympic Games by way of the Olympic torch. Yup, that torch that goes around the world… Coke branded!
In the company’s very early days, as in the 1890s, Coca Cola was served from ceramic dispensers which were located on countertops in grocery and supply stores. Shopkeepers would purchase the syrup from Cola HQ, mix locally and serve! No recycling needed.
There are literally more Coca Cola products than you can count on all your appendages. Every continent and region has its own beverage variations so there is a world of options beyond the main three-four brands we probably all know. Coke remains the constant though irrespective of location, it just tastes slightly different on account of variations in water. However, this is the one place you can taste all those previously unheard of brands. Talk about a genuine soda high.
That familiar taste of Coke was formulated in 1886 and the secret formula resides in the The Vault at the World of Coca Cola. The formula was not written down during the first 33 years of its existence. It was finally committed to paper in 1919 and kept in a bank vault in New York as collateral for a loan. The formula was then moved to Atlanta in 1925, and in 2011 at the ripe old age of 125 was transferred to The Vault where it is kept under very heavy and high tech lock and key. Believe me, these folks take their formula very seriously.
My absolute favourite though was going down memory lane with Coke ads. Unknowingly over the years, I had internalized heaps of ad tunes, and as the opening bars would begin, words from decades ago sprung from my mind and I found myself singing along in the theatre to: I’d like to buy the world a Coke…When I get older, I will be stronger.. and, when you want to feel refreshed Coke is It! You know what I mean? Now those tunes will be in your head all day too.
I guess that’s why it never struck me that there is a World of Coca Cola somewhere, because at the end of the day Coca Cola actually is a fixed feature of my world.
Now go #ShareACoke. Undoubtedly there is one near by….