More than a beverage, Coca-Cola is a fact of life.
We’ve all grown up gulping down its fizzy brown goodness out of cans, bottles (plastic and glass), the gigantic red paper cups they have at the movies or at McDonald’s. Its iconic glass bottle is probably one of the few objects we could identify in the dark by touch alone, and its red and white logo is recognized by 94% of the world’s population.
So as a lifelong consumer (like myself), you probably think that you know pretty much everything there is to know about Coca-Cola? Well, Coca-Cola has been around for a very long time, enough to have a profound influence on our culture, make some pretty strange decisions, as well as inspire some pretty awesome myths.
Now that you have the opportunity to invest in the Coca-Cola stock (in our stock Beta launch), it’s time to delve deeper into the legend and mystery that is the Coca-Cola company. Today I’m here to present you with 7 pretty astounding facts about the world’s most famous soft drink that you should keep in mind when making your investment decisions:
1. Coke used to make you both drunk and high!
The original Coca-Cola recipe concocted by John Pemberton of the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company contained alcohol and was marketed as “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca” until the Atlanta county passed temperance legislation which limited alcohol consumption and prompted Pemberton to come up with a non-alcoholic formula for his beverage. Coca-Cola also contained a significant dose of Cocaine (60mg per serving!) that was only taken out of the formula in 1903, although officials later claimed that this was just a rumor.
2. Coca-Cola did not invent modern day Santa Claus
One of the most persistent myths about Coca-Cola is that the image of modern day Santa Claus is based on Coca-Cola’s 1931 Christmas ad campaign posters, representing the familiar red and white figure refreshing himself with a cool bottle of Coke. Sadly, this is not the case. Although Coca-Cola’s Santa posters probably helped cement Santa’s image as the jolly white bearded fat man dressed in red and white, similar images of Santas have been depicted as early as 1906.
3. However it did invent the six pack
Always thinking outside the box about new ways to make its brand unique, Coca-Cola was the first company to sell beverages in the now ubiquitous six pack. The company first started to sell its beverages in packages of six in 1923, which quickly became standard practice among beverage manufacturers. Think about it, if it wasn’t for Coca-Cola, how would you bring beer to a party? Or know to describe the perfect abs?!
4. Famous marketing blunder #1: New Coke
There is no better demonstration of the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” than the New Coke fiasco of 1985. Although since its inception the Coca-Cola brand’s major value had been the authenticity of its product and the inimitability of its secret formula, the urge to innovate got the better of Coca-Cola execs and brought about the decision to change the original Coca-Cola formula in favor of New Coke. Despite phenomenal preliminary testings, which showed that the new sweeter recipe was favored over both Pepsi and original Coke, the public backlash was immediate. Consumers were very vocal about their nostalgia for old Coke, despite admitting to liking New Coke’s taste, and finally forced the Coca-Cola company to bring back “Classic Coke” with a slightly modified formula. So although New Coke was a marketing catastrophe, it showed that the Coca-Cola company was attentive to its consumers and willing to admit a mistake and fix it before it was too late.
5. Famous marketing blunder #2: Dasani water
Although Coca-Cola’s brand of purified bottled water, Dasani, had been well accepted in North America, its 2004 launch in the UK quickly became known is one of the worst marketing disasters in history. The Coca-Cola company failed to take into account that most bottled water brands in Europe draw their water from Alpine glaciers or mineral springs, whereas Dasani water came straight out of the tap. When UK newspapers picked up on this fact, the public became outraged and Dasani water became the target of widespread ridicule. Matters were made worse when the water was discovered to contain traces of bromate, a potentially cancerogenic chemical. Coca-Cola resorted to pulling Dasani water off the shelves only a few weeks after its release, and cancelling planned launches in Germany and France. Despite continued popularity in North America, the brand was never reintroduced to Europe.
6. The world’s 84th largest economy
With $35.1 billion in yearly revenues, as of 2010 Coca-Cola is the world’s 84th largest economy just ahead of Costa Rica. The Coca-Cola brand is estimated to be worth $74 billion dollar, more than Pepsi, Starbucks, Budweiser and Redbull combined. Unlike Pepsico, most of Coca-Cola’s revenue is still generated from soft drinks – $28 billion out the $35.1 billion yearly revenue.
7. More water than water
In 2001 it took over 3 litres of water to make 1 litre of Coke. More than half of the water went into rinsing and cleaning bottles and work utensils, however the figure raised major concerns as the company started to deplete major areas of fresh water supplies. True to form, the company took charge of the situation and has managed to bring water consumption down to just over 1.6 litres of water per litre of beverage, however investors are advised to keep track of Coca-Cola’s situation vis-a-vis its local water supplies.
I hope you found these facts informative and that they’ll come in handy when you choose to invest in the Coca-Cola company. If you enjoyed reading this article, use the social buttons below to spread the word to your friends as well.
And now it’s time for the age old question: Coke or Pepsi? Cast your vote in the comments so we can settle this debate once and for all!