Monday, June 16, 2008

Coca Cola Ads; The Art of Effervecence

Invention of Coca-Cola

When he was a druggist and chemist in Atlanta, Georgia, John Pemberton began work on a coca and kola (cola) nut beverage. It was intended to stop headaches and calm nervousness, but others insist he was attempting to create a pain reliever for himself and other wounded Confederate veterans. He began this process at his Columbus laboratory, but soon after the war, moved his entire operation to Atlanta.

The original formula was created in his laboratory as a nonalcoholic alternative to his French Wine Coca in the event that the pending national temperance movement prohibited the sale of the latter. Frank Mason Robertson came up with the name "Coca Cola" for the alliterative sound, which was popular among other wine medicines of the time. Although the name quite clearly refers to the two main ingredients, the controversy over cocaine content would later prompt The Coca-Cola Company to state that it is "meaningless but fanciful." Frank Robertson also hand wrote the Spencerian script on the bottles and ads. Pemberton also made many health claims for his product and marketed it as 'delicious, refreshing, exhilarating, invigorating' and touted as a 'valuable brain tonic' that would cure headaches, relieve exhaustion and calm nerves.

One hundred years have brought many changes. In 1894, Coke was for the first time sold in bottles. During World War II, bottling plants were set up in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. Today, The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest soft drink producer. Coca-Cola is sold in more than 160 countries.

Pemberton was plagued by his morphine addiction and imbibed his cocawine and soda in an effort to control the addiction (both beverages contained coca leaf, of which cocaine is isolated). The original formula allegedly called for 8.46 mg of cocaine, while an average dose of the street drug is between 20-30 mg. However, the effects of the coca leaf is greatly compounded by the presence of caffeine from the kola nut. Coca-Cola was originally advertised as a cure for morphine and opium addictions among a multitude of other health benefits.

Coca Cola Corporation was an Atlanta, Georgia company, the first large-scale manufacturer and marketer of beverages based on the Coca-Cola formula, and closely related to Coca-Cola Company, the corporation that took on that role by 1900 and became a world-wide business.

After Asa Candler purchased the formula in 1887 from its developer, druggist John Pemberton, the latter's alcoholic son Charley Pemberton returned from Louisville, Kentucky the next year. He claimed his father had promised him the rights to the formula. The father corroborated this, and the incorporation proceeded with the younger Pemberton joining Candler and Woolfolk Walker as the principals.

With Candler and Walker soon at odds with Charley Pemberton, his father announced that it was the rights to the Coca-Cola name but not the formula that he had conveyed to the son. Though he remained a shareholder in Coca Cola Corporation, the son left the company in the summer of 1888, and began selling a lower-quality version of the beverage, under the name Coca-Cola. Fearing this would erode the value of that name, the corporation renamed its product as Yum Yum and then as Koke, with poor success.

Candler decided by 1894 to focus on the name and formula, and abandoned the troubled corporation, starting, without its other principals, a new corporation, the Coca-Cola Company. In the same year, Charley Pemberton died at the age of forty, after an apparent overdose of opium.

The Coca-Cola Company remained vulnerable, until the inactive Coca Cola Corporation's charter expired in 1908, to legal challenges from it.

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