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Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 9: Soda Pop Art Productions

A World of Beverage Choices!

A million graphic designers at a million drawing boards could make one heck of a Picture Bible or create infinite bottles and cans for 133 years of happy fun liquid products.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.

Atlanta is home to a few major companies with international reach and historical impact. Among them, Coca-Cola may be the largest and/or oldest. The World of Coca-Cola, the official museum for the 133-year-old drink, houses a plethora of examples from the branding powerhouse’s long history of unique designs and consistent flourishes — that white stripe, that glacially metamorphosing calligraphy, that pervasive red. (Websites disagree on exactly which shade or color code of red or pinkish-red.) Some, especially Atlanta residents may regard Coke as an intrinsic part of the American way of life, but a corporation that size is rarely satisfied to depend on a single nation for all its earnings. Its art reaches across the decades and across multiple borders.


Coca-Cola circles!

The first official tour stop is a windowless room filled with Coke, Coke, Coke, Coke, Coke.

Mexican Coke mascot!

Presumably a Latin American Coke mascot?

Coke props abroad!

More Coke randomness in the first room.

Coke posters!

A panoply of posters pushing the powerful pop.

Coke signs!

Some Coke signs are more old-fashioned than others.

Coke signs more!

In my head I hear the Monty Python cast singing their song about Spam but with lyrics altered to cheer, “Brand! Brand! Brand! Brand! Brand! Brand! Brand! Brand!”

Coke overseas!

Coke for sale in myriad languages.

French Coke kid!

Voules-vouz a Coke avec moi? Or perhaps Coke served inside Russian nesting dolls?

international Coke ads!

Coca-Cola: Not Just for White Americans.

Coke machines!

Ye olde-tyme Coke machines, in use long before they had to invent a separate hole to accept dollar bills.

Coke machine elsewhere!

A Coke machine not from ’round these parts.

Coke toys!

Grown-ups told you not to play with your food, but Coke toys technically let you play with your drinks.

Cokemobile!

Quickly, old chum, to the Cokemobile!

500 reward!

One room devoted to the secret formula had its walls covered in conspiracy-theory messages about the fierce competition to deconstruct and imitate it.

big Coke art bottle!

A selection of super-sized Coke bottles painted with imaginative forms are scattered throughout the World of Coca-Cola’s many rooms.

big art Coke bottle!

…many of them next to windows whose backlighting made for frustratingly dark, shots.

Coke art bottles line!

An entire row of giant Coke art bottles loomed over the Coca-Cola Polar Bear’s photo backdrop.

Coke paintings!

Another room contained a wall of Coke paintings. The one at the bottom was a Christmas card prototype.

Coca-Cola Picnic Partners!

This painting was the center of a “Picnic Partners” campaign that ran somewhere between 1943 and 1953 (sources seem to vary). Kids, if you don’t get this image, be sure to ask a grown-up what a “picnic” was.

…and those are just a few glimpses into the history and evolution of a company that made over $31 billion in revenue in 2018.

To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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One response

  1. Pingback: Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 9: Soda Pop Art Productions — Midlife Crisis Crossover! | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

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