Coca Cola And Its Evolution Essay, Research Paper
Coca-Cola and its Evolution
The Coca-Cola company started out as an insignificant one man business and over the last one hundred and ten years it has grown into one of the largest companies in the world. The first operator of the company was Dr. John Pemberton and the current operator is Roberto Goizueta. Without societies help, Coca-Cola could not have become over a 50 billion dollar business.
Coca-Cola was invented by Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist. Dr. Pemberton concocted the formula in a three legged brass kettle in his backyard on May 8, 1886. He mixed a combination of lime, cinnamon, coca leaves, and the seeds of a Brazilian shrub to make the fabulous beverage(CokeMANIA). Coca-Cola debuted in Atlanta’s largest pharmacy, Jacob’s Pharmacy, as a five cent non- carbonated beverage. Later, carbonated water was added to the syrup to make the beverage that is know today as Coca-Cola.
Named by one of Pemberton’s close friends, Frank Robinson also penned the famous Coca-Cola logo and it’s unique script. In addition to the early history of acquiring its name, the Coca-Cola Company traded several hands. While living, Dr. John Pemberton sold a portion of the Coca-Cola company to Asa Candler, then after Pemberton’s death, Candler bought the remaining portion of the company. Candler acquired the whole company for only $2,300 and became known as “The Man Who Taught Coca-Cola to Walk” (Coca-Cola).
Candler accomplished great achievements as owner of the company. On January 31, 1893, the famous Coca-Cola formula was patented. He also opened the first syrup manufacturing plant in 1884. His great achievement was large scale bottling of Coca-Cola in 1899. In 1915, The Root Glass Company made the contour bottle for the Coca-Cola company. Candler aggressively advertised Coca-Cola in newspapers and on billboards. In the newspapers, he would give away coupons for a free Coke at any fountain. In less than 10 years, Candler had increased the sales by 400 percent. After Asa’s retirement, Coca-Cola was sold again following the Prohibition Era to Ernest Woodruff for 25 million dollars. In turn, he gave Coca-Cola to his son, Robert Woodruff, who would be president for six decades(Gould 16-18).
A man known for his achievements and ideas, Robert Woodruff had “Taught Coca-Cola to Fly” (Coca-Cola). In 1923, Woodruff introduced the six bottle carton. He also made Coca-Cola available through vending machine in 1929. He started advertising on the radio in the 1930’s and on the television in 1950. Currently Coca-Cola is advertised on over five hundred TV channels around the world. In 1931, Woodruff introduced the Coke Santa as a Christmas promotion and since then, it has been a Christmas Tradition. Candler also introduced the twelve ounce Coke can in 1960. The Coca-Cola contour bottle was patented in 1977. The two liter bottle was introduced in 1978, the same year the company also introduced plastic bottles(Coca-Cola). As a result of his efforts, Woodruff made Coke available in every state of the Union through the soda fountain.
In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company made what has been known as one of the biggest marketing blunder. Putting forth 4 million dollars of research, The Coca-Cola company stumbled onto the new formula in efforts to produce Diet Coke. The decision to change their formula and pull the original Coke off the market came about because taste tests showed a distinct preference for the new formula. The new formula was a sweeter variation with less tang, it was also slightly smoother(Tchudi 37). Robert Woodruff’s death was a large contributor to the change because he stated that he would never change Coca-Cola’s formula. Another factor that influenced the change was that Coke’s market share fell 2.5 percent in four years. This was the first flavor change since the existence of the Coca- Cola company.
The change was announced April 23, 1985 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center. Some two hundred TV and newspaper reporters attended this very glitzy announcement. It included a question and answer session, a history of Coca-Cola, and many other elements(Oliver 131). The debut was accompanied by an advertising campaign that revived the Coca-Cola theme song of the early 1970’s, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”(CokeMANIA). The change to the world’s best selling soft drink was heard by 81 percent of the United States population within twenty-four hours of the announcement. Within a week of the change, one thousand calls a day were flooding the company’s eight hundred number (1-800-GET-COKE). Most of the callers were shocked and/or outraged, many said that they were considering switching to Pepsi. Within six weeks, the eight hundred number was being jammed by six thousand calls a day. The company also fielded over forty thousand letters, which were all answered and each person got a coupon for the new Coke. A retired Air Force officer, explained in a letter to the Coca-Cola company that he wanted to be cremated and interred in a Coke can, but now that this change had come about he was reconsidering. (Oliver 43). Sharlotte Donneally, a thirty-six year old anthropologist said, “I hate the new stuff. It’s too sweet. It tastes like Pepsi.” She also stated, “Real Coke had punch. This taste almost like it’s flat”(Coca-Cola). Many upset American consumers of Coca-Cola asked if they could have the final say concerning the change in the product.
In response to the disapprovemnt of the new Coca-Cola Product, the company made a decision to revive the “Old Coke”. This change was known as the “Second Coming” (Tchudi 37). The current Pres. Of the company, Roberto Goizueta, explained, “Today, we have two messages to deliver to the American consumer, first, to those of you who are drinking Coca-Cola with its great new taste, our thanks…But there is a second group of consumers to whom we want to speak to today and our message to this group is simple: We have heard you”(Oliver 178). On July 10, 1985, eighty-seven days after the new Coke was introduced, the “Old Coke” was brought back in addition to the new one.
Coca-Cola executives admitted that they had goofed by taking the old Coke off the market. One old Coke loyalist said, “The company had spoiled the taste of its ninety nine year old soft drink and betrayed a national trust”(Gould 36). Ike Herbert, a Coke marketer said, “You would have thought we had invented a cure for cancer”(Gould 36). The Coca- Cola company’s eight hundred number received eighteen thousand calls of gratitude. One caller said they felt like a lost friend had returned home. The comeback of old Coke drove stock prices to the highest level in twelve years. This is said to be the only way to regain the lead on the cola wars(Tchudi 42).
In 1979, fifteen hundred employees moved to the new corporate headquarters in Atlanta located on North Avenue. The new corporate headquarters came to be known as “The Tower.” During the time when the research for the new formula was taking place, it was known as “The Bunker”(Oliver 53). The known ingredients in present day Coca-Cola are water. caffeine, phosphoric acid, vanilla, various oils and essences and extracts of the coca leaf and the kola nut. The one in four hundred part of cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola in 1903(CokeMANIA). Five years after the infamous Coke fiasco, the Coca-Cola company tried to bring back the reformulated Coke. The effort to phase in Coke II into the soda market was quite unsuccessful(CokeMANIA).
Today, Coca-Cola is worth more than 58 billion dollars on the stock (Gould 42).It is the largest soft drink company in the world. During the Woodruff era, Mr. Woodruff made a promise to the armed forces of the United States to supply Coca-Cola to every serviceperson. He said that costs and location did not matter, he supplied 5 billion bottles to the service. In the mid-1970’s, more than half of Coca-Cola sold was outside of the U.S. Coca-Cola products outsell closest competitor by more than two to one. One in every two colas and one in every three soft drinks is a Coca-Cola (CokeMANIA). The best known trademark in the world is sold in about one hundred and forty countries to 5.8 billion people in eighty different languages(CokeMANIA).
For more than 65 years, Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of the Olympics. The 1996 Summer Olympics will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, the home of Coca-Cola. One great earmark that the Coca-Cola company has is helping the people of Atlanta. They accomplish this through scholarships, hotlines, donations and contributions, etc. Another large accomplishment that the Coca-Cola has, is being the first company to make and use recycled plastic bottles. One way to see all of the achievements of the Coca- Cola company is to visit the World of Coke in Atlanta. It houses a collection of memorabilia, samples of the products, exhibits, and many other exciting items(Facts, Figures, and Features Multiple pages).
All of what has been said is the basis of what Coca-Cola was built on. Without societies help, Coca-Cola could not have become over a 50 billion dollar business. Keep on consuming the world’s favorite soft drink, Coca-Cola.
“Coca Cola.” Address: http://www.sodafountain.com/softdrink/cocacola
“CokeMANIA” Address: http://members.aol.com/CokeCan015/coke.html
Gould, William. VGM’s Business Portraits. VGM Career Horizens. Lincolnwood, Illinois. 1995.
Oliver, Thomas. The Real Coke, The Real Story. Random House. New York, New York. 1986.
Tchiudi, Stephen N. Soda Poppery. Collier Macmillian Canada, Inc. United States of America. 1986.