AROUND THE CORNER FROM EVERYWHERE
If you were to drive your car across New Zealand, along the way sporadically visiting small towns with populations rarely exceeding 87 people, you’d encounter an assortment of experiences that vary as much as the topographical makeup of our two islands. But no matter how different each of these pitstops might be, one thing that you will almost invariably see wherever you go is the Coca-Cola bottle.
From fridges of national supermarkets to those in tiny village dairies, the easily recognisable Coke bottle has become a veritable part of the Kiwi landscape (unfortunately, sometimes literally in the form of litter).
Looking at the ubiquity of the brand today, it seems the early copywriters who in 1927 chose the slogan ‘Around the corner from everywhere’ were perhaps gifted with clairvoyance, because this statement would over the decades stretch and become relevant well beyond the US market in which they were writing.
Although the Coca-Cola brand was first founded in 1886, the iconic contour bottle that now typifies the brand was patented and introduced to the market 100 years ago in 1915.
Upon deciding to redesign its earlier, plainer bottles, the Trustees of the Coca-Cola Bottling Association offered the thensubstantial sum of $500 to an agency that could design a “bottle so distinct that you would recognise if by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground”.
The Root Glass Company eventually developed the winning design by emulating the elongated shape and distinct ribs of the cocoa bean.
However, it wasn’t until 1939 when Coca-Cola opened its first bottling operation in New Zealand that Kiwis were able to get their hands on the bottle on a regular basis.
The arrival of the brand in Aotearoa coincided with World War II, and in its early days the company produced Coke for US troops on leave while fighting in the Pacific—and an early ad titled ‘Have a Coke = Kia Ora’ gives a nod to these early relations between the Pacific people and the soldiers.
Later, the local advertising moved away from war and took on a more sunny disposition. The tradition of the good-looking smiling people that are still seen in Coke ads today started in print, with ads showing everyone from tennis players to office workers being excessively happy while glugging away on a bottle.
‘Stop for a lift’, ‘When you pause … Coca-Cola really refreshes’ and ‘Let Coca-Cola put you at your sparkling best’ are just some of the older branding phrases that preceded the more recent examples like ‘Enjoy Coca-Cola’ and ‘Share a Coke’.
And given that Coca-Cola still occupies large sections of shelf space at stores across the country, we’re likely to see a few more slogans added to this growing canon in years to come.