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The Secret Formula for Marketing Innovation

2012 Corporate Inductee The Coca-Cola Company
  • March 18 2012

From its iconic script announcing the availability of ice-cold refreshment in the most famous bottle in the world through teaching the world to sing, humanizing a hulking football lineman and turning polar bears into a holiday season tradition, The Coca-Cola Company has been a symbol of marketing success for more than 125 years.

Now, as only the third corporate inductee in the Advertising Hall of Fame’s history, The Coca-Cola Company is being honored for its advertising, its innovation and its embrace of diversity and multiculturalism. “Over the years we at Coca-Cola have been blessed to work with some of the most creative and thoughtful minds in the advertising world,” says Joseph V. Tripodi, EVP and chief marketing and commercial officer at The Coca-Cola Company, who will be accepting the award. “This incredible recognition is testament to our wonderful partnership and inspires us to further strengthen the broad shoulders we are so privileged to stand upon today.”

From its humble beginnings in an Atlanta pharmacy, where about nine glasses a day were sold for a nickel each, The Coca-Cola Company brands—more than 3,500 beverages including household names like Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Vitaminwater, Minute Maid and Powerade--are now consumed at the rate of more than 1.7 billion drinks per day. Consider some of the innovative marketing Coca-Cola has pioneered over its history:

  • 1893: The Coca-Cola Spencerian script is registered as a trademark.
  • 1900: Music hall performer Hilda Clark becomes the first celebrity to appear in multiple ad formats, including trays, posters and bookmarks.
  • 1915: The iconic contour bottle is designed and trademarked.
  • 1928: The company begins its relationship with the Olympic games with drinks available at kiosks at the venues in Amsterdam.
  • 1931:Artist Haddon Sundblom’s illustration showing Santa pausing for a Coke links Coca-Cola and Christmas; Sundblom’s drawing of a “jolly” St. Nick is often credited with creating the modern image of Santa.
  • 1950: Coca-Cola is the first product to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
  • 1955: Fanta becomes the first new product to be distributed by the company.
  • 1971: First as a radio ad and then on TV, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” becomes a hit, both as an ad and a song.
  • 1979: The “Mean Joe Green” TV commercial debuts. Over the years, it frequently makes the list of “best TV ads.”
  • 1982: Diet Coke becomes the first extension of the Coca-Cola and Coke trademark.
  • 2008: A Coca-Cola Facebook page is established by two fans; today it has more than 40 million fans.
  • 2011: In celebration of its 125th anniversary, the company moves its secret formula to a vault at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta that is visible to the public.


Never a firm to rest on its laurels, The Coca-Cola Company is now in the midst of its 2020 Vision, a roadmap to guide the company over the next decade and double its system revenue. Crucial to this global outlook—80 percent of the company’s business comes from outside the U.S.—is its ongoing commitment to diversity and cross-cultural understanding, being a partner to communities around the world. Clearly, it is a company that knows the secret formula for success.