How a Small Marketing Decision Took Coca-Cola Off to Sky?

Shalini Rath Shalini Rath
Jul 25, 2022 4 min read
How a Small Marketing Decision Took Coca-Cola Off to Sky?

Dr. John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia, created a new kind of sugary drink sold in soda fountains that gave birth to Coca-Cola. The naming credit of the beverage goes to Frank M. Robinson, as well as for designing the trademark still used today.

Coca-Cola was founded in the year 1886 and was charged only five cents back then. It was during the same time that the marketing efforts in Coca-Cola's history were executed through free vouchers or samples of the beverage.

It is hard not to be amazed by the love Coca-Cola has been getting for 135 years. Today, the coke we know wasn't always like this, it has gone through various iterations over the years. It started off selling nine drinks a day in Georgia to selling more than 1.9 billion beverages in more than 200 companies around the world daily, that's how the brand evolved since its inception. Let's read how.

History of Coca-Cola

Before Dr. John S. Pemberton's demise, he sold off his Coca-Cola recipe to then-American tycoon and Politician Asa Candler. The man behind the success of the Coca-Cola company. He played an instrumental part in spreading the brand across the country.

Asa Candler
Asa Candler

He acquired all the rights of Coca-Cola and incorporated it as The Coca-Cola Company in 1892 and expanded the distribution of the syrup to soda fountains beyond Atlanta. He also promoted the drink by giving it away for free and labeling pharmacies and soda fountains with items bearing the brand's name.

The game changed for the brand when a businessman named Joseph Biedenharn, began the concept of bottling the beverage. The significant rise in the demand for Coca-Cola led to the idea that the soda fountain should be portable.

To keep up with the increasing demand, Candler had set up many syrup plants across the country in places like Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles. During that time, soda fountains were the only way to consume carbonated beverages in the United States. Asa Candler was a savvy businessman, but he underestimated the future of Coca-Cola in that it would be in portable bottles rather than soda fountains.

In 1899, two lawyers, Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead approached Candler to sell the rights of Coca-Cola to them. In no time, he sold the bottling rights to them for one dollar with a contract that had no expiration date.

The reason Candler sold off the rights so cheaply truly shows that he believed that bottling would never be a hit. However, things did not go as Candler's assumptions, bottling did become popular, surpassing fountains sales in 1928.

The non-expiring contract included that Candler had signed to provide syrup for a fixed rate, which meant Coca-Cola's profits can only be doubled by maximising the amount of the product sold and minimising the price to the consumer.

The marketing strategy that made Coca-Cola one of the greatest brands in the world

The story behind the 5-cent price tag of Coca-Coal

Why coca-cola didn't change its price for 70 years?

The Genius Marketing Strategy of Coca-Cola

The brand decided to do aggressive marketing campaigns to associate its product with the five-cent price tag. This proved to be a successful campaign because consumers thought the brand is selling the product themselves.

Coca-Cola 5 Cent Advertisements
Coca-Cola 5 Cent Advertisements

As a result, it provided an incentive for retailers to sell at that price, even though a higher price at a lower volume might have made them more profitable.

Up until the 1950s, the price of coke remained the same at five cents because they did not want to affect the psychological associations among consumers.

As the soft drink continued to gain popularity in bottle form, it also gave rise to its competitors, who began producing copycats. This incident made advertising an integral part of Coca-Cola.

They started advertising its product as genuine and running campaigns to urge the public to "demand the genuine". To beat the competition, they are the first ones to manufacture the contour shaped-bottles. This signature style allowed the company to distinguish its product from replicas. From then on, the brand started making advertisements that always had an impact on its consumers.

Coca-Cola Bottle Shape
Coca-Cola Bottle Shape

Coca-Cola always stuck to its idea of simplicity, they have never strayed from its timeless and fundamental ideals. Over the decades and masses of marketing campaigns, Coca-Cola has consistently expressed one compelling message: the joy of simple pleasure in life with simple slogans such as "Enjoy" and "Happiness" that seem to be working across the globe.

Even after being a global icon, the brand understood that to reach consumers they have to personalise and speak at a localised level. Every country has its version of a Coke advertisement that is customised to its local culture and language, with the most popular names of each region printed on bottles and cans in place of the brand's title.

Conclusion

So, to play like a boss in the marketing world, one should learn from Coca-Cola's marketing strategies.

They set a perfect example when it comes to building a successful global brand. That is by making human connections more relatable, introducing innovative designs and styles while staying true to simple principles, and creating branded experiences.

FAQs

When did Coke stop being 5 cents?

In 1959 when inflation hit the brand stopped selling Coke for 5 cents or one nickel.

When did Coke cost 5 cents?

Coke had a fixed price of 5 cents from 1886 to 1959.

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