Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29 (1886) John Pemberton places first ad of Coca-Cola; SunTrust Bank earns billions

Coca-Cola advertising during the early 1900′s relied on young women as their spokespersons. The first spokesperson of Coca Cola is model Hilda Clark.

On this day in 1886, John Pemberton placed the first (of many) advertisements for his soft drink sensation Coca-Cola in the Atlanta Journal.

In 1919, the Trust Company of Georgia (now SunTrust Bank) underwrote the Coca-Cola Company's IPO, and for its services received some of the company’s first publicly traded stock, in lieu of cash. Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors also purchased shares of Coca-Cola; for financing they obtained a loan. As collateral, Mr. Woodruff arranged to have the formula committed to paper (a first). When the loan was repaid in 1925, Mr. Woodruff reclaimed the secret formula, and placed it in a Trust Company vault, where it safely remained until December 2011 when it was moved to the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta.

In September 2012, SunTrust sold most of its share of Coca-Cola, reaping over $1.2 billion in profit, which was used to cover losses from the Great Recession.

Here's an example of a Coca-Cola ad from the late 1880s.

"This 'intellectual beverage' and temperance drink contains the valuable tonic and nerve stimulant properties of the coca plant and Cola (or Kola), nuts, and makes not only a delicious, exhilarating, refreshing and invigorating beverage, (dispensed from the soda water fountain or in other carbonated beverages) but a valuable Brain Tonic, and a cure for all nervous affections--sick, head-ache, neuralgia, hysteria, melancholia, &c.

The particular flavor of COCA-COLA delights every palate; it is dispensed from the soda fountain in the same manner as any of the fruit syrups."

This was later shortened to "Coke is it."

Further Reading

SunTrust Bank website

A history of Coca-Cola advertising

SunTrust Sells 93-Year Coke Stake as Crisis Hangover Ebbs

Coca-Cola moves top-secret formula for 1st time since 1925

World of Coca-Cola website

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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.