Vintage coke ads

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Vintage soda ads: Can you spot the fake?

We ran across one of these old ads pushing pop for tots on Facebook and shook our heads disbelievingly, before learning it was a fake. But the sweetened beverage industry has stooped equally low in the past, all the way down to toddler eye level.

Can you guess which one is a modern mock-up? The answer’s on the very last page!


Soda pop ad


Soda ad


Coke ad


7-up ad

Answer: #2, “Start cola earlier!” It was created by the folks at

#1 (“This young man is 11 months old — and he isn’t our youngest customer by any means!”) was an actual 1955 7-Up ad 

#3 (“The wholesome quality of Coca-Cola fits so properly into this picture”) was an actual 1953 Coca-Cola ad. 

#4 (“You can even give this sparkling drink to babies!”) was a 1956 7-Up ad.

So pure, so wholesome, so … wrongheaded. It’s like watching the beginning scenes of Mad Men, when the kids run around the house with drycleaner bags over their heads and clamber into the front seat of the moving car.


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The 13 Best Coca-Cola Commercials Of All Time

For decades, Coca-Cola has been an innovator in both print advertisements and TV commercials, debuting several creative campaigns from ‘The Pause That Refreshes’ of the 1920s to the modern-day ‘Taste the Feeling’ that came to be remembered for ages. However, it’s more than just a soft drink – Coca-Cola is a symbol of American culture characterized by friends and family, fun, and overall happiness with life. Despite its worldwide recognition as the most popular product of our time, Coca-Cola still captivates people across the globe with their ‘feel-good’ commercials that are somewhat inspiring, even if you don’t drink Coke yourself. Read on to discover the 13 best Coca-Cola commercials of all time, from the classics of the past to present-day hits.

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10 Vintage Coca-Cola Ads Using Nurses to Sell Soda


Nurses have been used in advertisements since the 19th century. Perhaps there’s something about the profession’s caring and hard-arorking image that’s appealing to marketers and consumers alike. Coca-Cola saw the benefit of nurses, too, and they frequently featured in adverts for the company’s flagship soft drink.

Through the years, Coca-Cola has come under increased scrutiny over its impact on health as well as its child-targeted marketing. It’s therefore interesting that healthcare professionals were used to promote a product that is now widely regarded as unhealthy. We’ve compiled a list of 10 vintage ads that used nurses to promote the world’s favorite soda.

10. “Quality You Can Trust”


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Featuring a pretty nurse offering glasses of Coke to the reader, this 1950s-era ad apparently attempts to portray Coca-Cola as a reliable and wholesome way for consumers to quench their thirst.

Coke was originally marketed as having health-giving properties. It started life as a patent medicine and purported cure for afflictions as wide-ranging as nerve trouble, morphine addiction and impotence. In the 1880s, pharmacist John Pemberton created the prototype recipe, which contained alcohol and coca leaf (the source of cocaine).

After prohibition came into force in Atlanta and Fulton County in 1886, Pemberton removed the alcohol and developed Coca-Cola itself. Interestingly, coca was still the main active ingredient until 1903, when it was replaced by caffeine.

9. “Coke on the Job Keeps Workers Refreshed!”


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Coca-Cola’s high sugar content has led to reports that it is basically “liquid candy.” On top of this, links have been made between such sodas and obesity in the US population – yet some nurses and health professionals enjoy drinking it, despite the health risks. Maybe the burst of sugar and caffeine from the soft drink helps provide nurses with the much-needed energy to get through a long day.

Worryingly, a 2008 survey by the Nursing Times found that of the nurses who responded, over half confessed to being overweight, while 50 percent claimed that they were simply too busy to eat healthily. That said, flexible working hours, relocation opportunities and scope to perform different roles within the field are just a few of the benefits of this challenging yet rewarding profession.

8. “Sign of Good Taste”


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The text in the top-right corner of this ad reads, “The purity, the wholesomeness, the quality of Coca-Cola as refreshment has helped make Coke the best-loved sparkling drink in all the world.”

This kind of description, along with the use of nurses to promote the product, suggests that Coca-Cola is a healthy beverage. The audience may assume, if only subconsciously, that if nurses drink it, then it won’t do them any harm. In fact, though, modern studies have linked long-term soda consumption to increased risks of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and kidney problems.

Keen to shake off its unhealthy image, Coca-Cola released a commercial in 2013 stating that of its 650 drinks, 180 are now offered with low or zero calories. The company also plans to roll out smaller sized cans by the end of 2013 to help people with “portion control.” Yet while such efforts give consumers more options, it’s up to the general public to make the healthier choices.

7. “The Purity, the Wholesomeness, the Quality of Coca-Cola”


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Coca-Cola advertising has a long history – and it has even erroneously been credited as having formed the modern representation of Santa Claus as an elderly man dressed in red and white during the 1930s. However, Coca-Cola’s original inventor John Pemberton is said to have had little knowledge of how to market his product effectively following its creation in 1886.

In fact, a secretary at Pemberton’s company called Frank Mason Robinson invented the beverage’s name and wrote it in the iconic Spencerian script still used on the packaging to this day. Robinson even came up with the first advertising slogan for the brand, “The pause that refreshes.”

6. “Something That Will Refresh You”


This Coca-Cola advert proudly claims that the product is “served in leading hospitals.” This seems to be an effort to suggest that the drink has met with the approval of the best medical establishments in the US and perhaps, by association, that it is even recommended to drink when feeling unwell.

From its humble origins as a patent medicine, Coke has become one of the most widely known drinks in the world. As of 2012, its Classic and Diet varieties made up 41 percent of the total soft drink market share worldwide.

Sodas like Coca-Cola are a very prominent source of empty calories (those lacking in nutritional value) in the American diet. Just one 20-ounce serving of Coke contains approximately 240 calories – 10 percent or more of a woman’s recommended daily allowance. And although Coca-Cola now ensures that its school vending machines mainly offer juices, waters and low-calorie drinks, selling sugary and high-calorie sodas remains at the heart of its business.

5. “Drink Coca-Cola”


Mother Jones, a nurse, suggested on the blog Nurse Ratched’s Place that the days of socializing happily around the vending machine with a Coke are now over for nurses: “I vaguely remember when nurses had enough time to get off the floor and meet around the old Coca-Cola machine. You could get a bottle for 10 cents back then, and you had time to drink the whole bottle before you had to go back to work.

“Now no one has time to leave the unit for a soda, let alone lunch or dinner. There is a nursing shortage you know and nurses barely have time to take a restroom break.”

4. “Merci Bien”


This vintage poster is thought to originate from 1940s Canada and depict a smiling nurse reaching for a bottle of Coke. It seems to associate Coca-Cola with happiness and cheer – also suggested by the poster’s slogan, “Merci Bien!”

Coke’s attempts at improving their products have not always gone down so well. Arguably one of the company’s biggest blunders was the introduction of New Coke in 1985. This revamped version the company’s flagship drink lasted for only a few months, as it garnered hundreds of thousands of letters and calls of complaint from the American public. The original formula was swiftly reintroduced under the moniker “Coca-Cola Classic,” until it eventually reverted back to Coke.

3. “At Ease… For Refreshment”


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As this poster showing a US Army nurse suggests, Coca-Cola made substantial attempts to appeal to the forces during WWII. Indeed, as part of its drive to market itself as a patriotic company, it offered free beverages to soldiers – which also conveniently enabled it to avoid sugar-rationing laws. Company operatives were also allowed to be present on the front lines of battle as “Technical Officers,” although they rarely saw actual combat.

Interestingly, the company sold soft drinks to the other side, as well, with Fanta originally produced in Germany during the war. The recipe came about because of problems with importing the Coca-Cola syrup into the country thanks to restrictions on trade at the time.

2. “Work Refreshed”


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The ad above again suggests that Coca-Cola is the drink of choice for nurses. In the modern world, nurses are still frequently used to sell products; recent examples include a campaign for Virgin Mobile in India and controversial posters for a bus route in the West Midlands, England. Local nursing professionals have criticized the images on the bus route as demeaning for their depiction of a blond “nurse” in a skimpy uniform.

Although nowadays it’s unlikely that Coca-Cola would be offered as medicine, doctors have recently found that the fizzy drink can be helpful in treating a stomach blockage known as gastric phytobezoar. Why? Because its acidic chemicals, combined with the bubbles, can apparently dissolve the obstruction.

1. “You Trust Its Quality”


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This 1954 advertisement asserts that Coca-Cola can be found in hospitals as well as stores and offices. And the cheerful nurse accompanying the text suggests that care providers are among those who trust the brand.

During the 1950s, efforts were made to promote Coke as a good drink for people with busy lifestyles; other ads included slogans such as “refreshing service for people on the go.” The period following WWII was one of great international progress for Coca-Cola, with the number of bottling plants worldwide increasing by almost 100 percent between the mid-1940s and 1960.

Interestingly, Coca-Cola wasn’t alone in using nurses to promote its product: its major competitor, Pepsi, also featured such healthcare professionals in its advertisements.

Filed Under: Nurses in Advertising

Old coca-cola commercials

130 years of Coca-Cola ads

The soft drink Coca-Cola was first introduced on May 8, 1886. Here, a coupon offers a free glass of Coke in 1887. See how the company's advertisements have changed over the last 130 years.The Coca-Cola Company

1890: One of Coca-Cola's earliest print ads included the slogan "refreshing and invigorating" as well as the original price for a glass: 5 cents. That price did not change until 1959, the company said.The Coca-Cola Company

1900: Singer and actress Hilda Clark was the first celebrity to be featured in Coca-Cola advertising. Her likeness could be found on serving trays, signs, clocks, coupons and more.The Coca-Cola Company

1925: Coca-Cola's first billboard, "Ritz Boy," promotes how popular the drink had become.The Coca-Cola Company

1931: Coca-Cola puts an image of Santa Claus on an ad that debuted in the Saturday Evening Post and appeared regularly in magazines. It was painted by Haddon Sundblom, who continued to paint a new Santa for Coke every year until 1964.The Coca-Cola Company

1932: At the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, spectators received these "Olympic record keepers" to keep track of world records in various sports.The Coca-Cola Company

1935: Between 1928 and 1935, artist Norman Rockwell painted six different illustrations that were used in Coca-Cola ads. The 1935 calendar featured "Out Fishin," which depicted a young boy fishing on a tree stump.The Coca-Cola Company

1944: A soldier is seen on this World War II-era ad.The Coca-Cola Company

1946: The Coca-Cola billboard "Yes Girl" makes its debut. It was painted by Haddon Sundblom, who also created the iconic Coca-Cola Santa Claus.The Coca-Cola Company

1951: This ad was released in celebration of Coca-Cola's 65th anniversary.The Coca-Cola Company

1957: Mary Alexander was the first African-American woman to appear in Coca-Cola advertising. She appeared in about 15 Coca-Cola print ads throughout the 1950s.The Coca-Cola Company

1971: Perhaps the most famous Coca-Cola ad of all time, "Hilltop," debuted in 1971. The television commercial features an international group of people singing "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke."The Coca-Cola Company

1979: A commercial featuring football player "Mean" Joe Greene becomes one of the most memorable Super Bowl ads of all time. A boy shares a Coke with Greene; he gives the boy his jersey.The Coca-Cola Company

1982: Diet Coke was the first extension of the Coca-Cola brand name beyond the original drink. It hit U.S. markets in 1982 as a way to attract consumers who wanted a lower-calorie option.The Coca-Cola Company

1985: Cherry Coke puts a contemporary spin on a homespun beverage many Americans enjoyed as a kid, when "soda jerks" at the local drugstore would add a splash of cherry syrup to fountain Coca-Cola.The Coca-Cola Company

1985: Coca-Cola announces the introduction of "New Coke" -- a reformulation designed to re-energize sales in the United States. Consumers quickly voiced their distaste, and the company brought back original Coca-Cola just 79 days later.The Coca-Cola Company

1991: One of the most famous Coca-Cola advertising slogans, "Can't Beat the Real Thing," ran in various ads until 1993. The Coca-Cola Company

1993: Coca-Cola's animated polar bears debuted in 1993 as part of the company's "Always" campaign. They are often used in holiday ads.The Coca-Cola Company

2011: The "Share a Coke" campaign, originally launched in Australia, has been one of Coca-Cola's most successful marketing campaigns to date. Responding to consumers' desire for personalization, the company added common names to Coca-Cola packaging. The campaign launched in the United States in 2014.The Coca-Cola Company


Ads vintage coke

These vintage Coca-Cola ads will take you back—waaaay back

“The Real Thing” first became a thing you could buy in a bottle 125 years ago today. Since then, Coke has grown into one of the world’s best known brands, with advertising to match.

Unsurprisingly, that advertising does not dwell on the drink’s origin as a morphine substitute. Colonel John Pemberton, a Confederate wounded in the U.S. Civil War, became addicted to the morphine used to address his injuries, and began a quest to identify a replacement. Pemberton’s French Wine Coca Nerve Tonic was created in Georgia, in 1885.

The drink, marketed as a medicine, was alcoholic. The following year, Georgia introduced prohibition to Pemberton’s district.

Undeterred, Pemberton developed a non-alcoholic version, called Coca-Cola. The cost was five cents a glass, and sales were around nine glasses a day. That first year the first Coke ad was published in the Atlanta Journal. In March 1894, the first bottled Coke was produced.

Fast-forward to today, and sales have increased just a little—to around 1.9 billion bottles daily. Below, a look back at some of Coke’s early advertising posters.

Aamir Khan best coca cola ads


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