The Birth of the Legendary Coca-Cola Logo A True Love For The Letter C John Stith Pemberton lucked out big time by hiring Frank Mason Robinson as his bookkeeper. Not only was this employee Pemberton’s a number – minded man with deft accounting skills, he…
The Birth of the Legendary Coca-Cola Logo
A True Love For The Letter C
John Stith Pemberton lucked out big time by hiring Frank Mason Robinson as his bookkeeper. Not only was this employee Pemberton’s a number – minded man with deft accounting skills, he was also an inexhaustible creative mensch brimming with ideas for the product itself – including the name and how it would look on advertising material in a capital serif font.
Pemberton and Robinson were developing the original formula for Coca-Cola — and determining how to market it.
Robinson’s fascinating with the double C’s came from a love of the letter’s shape, particularly when doubled up alongside each other. Their alliterative verbal sensation was an added bonus.
So, when Pemberton at lost got the patent — they further trademarked their signature drink by applying a script font called Spencerian — the flowy and semi-calligraphic cursive-italics hybrid we all suspect we somehow encountered for the first time in utero.
This typeface came from weeks of experimentation and, astonishingly, a consensus from among the company’s employees who were consulted for their thoughts.
And how did they arrive at the Christmassy red and white colour choice? They knew that a two-colour selection would serve as that one-two punch of instant recognition from anyone who laid eyes on it after one encounter. They considered with astute accuracy the exact neural groove they’d be carving into their customers malleable brains. Maybe they didn’t think that far. But then, maybe they did.
This was 131 years ago, and while other brands have experimented with their typefaces in an effort to evolve and keep pace with new products, trends styles and demands, Coca-Cola has continually opted to override fashion rather than cater to it. Think of the many decades, the peaks and valleys of profit, and the many opportunities in the early years and beyond to simply re-jigger the basic lettering of those words.
The ”Share A Coke” Campaign
What if something more “modern” would drive up sales? What if that swivelling cursive feel not like a classic staple but an old-timey relic. These are the concerns that creative directors and marketing executives must have come up against many times over the years as they questioned how and to what extent to define and preserve the essence of Coca-Cola, while working to engage successive generations of soda drinkers.
Nothing demonstrates the prescience and brilliance of their unwavering trust in that original unaltered typeface more than the 2013 “Share A Coke” campaign. Coke pulled off what few brands could ever envision — they subliminally gifted their product to both individuals and the masses by removing the name of the product itself from their soda containers and swapping in a unique replacement name for that unique bottle of the beverage.
Who else has a font and colour combo so recognisable, so universally understood, so branded into the minds of a culture that the name of the item itself no longer needs to appear on the thing and it can instead be shared with “Jessica,” “Tom,” “Susan,” “Peter,” “William,” “Margaret”…. and on and on and on. Over a thousand names in all. Find your own customised can or bottle of soda, or find and buy the name of someone you love.
A novelty campaign — participatory, experiential, and constantly initiating a purchase. All facilitated through more than a century of consistent marketing and the most remarkable corporate branding in history.
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