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Coke’s contour bottle turns 100

Coca-Cola’s contour glass bottle was shaped back in 1915, making 2015 a significant year for the bottle’s design and the beverage organization.

Marking its 100th birthday, the soda maker is rolling out a year-long campaign to highlight the bottle’s distinctiveness and celebrate its place in history.

It’s extremely rare that packaging designs stay relevant for a century, let alone transcends its own industry to become a cultural icon.  The Coca-Cola contour bottle has managed to do both.

Coca-Cola’s marketing campaign–titled “Coke Bottle 100”–includes many aspects to acknowledge its cultural significance.

Originally developed to combat imitators in the 1900s, the bottle has since been featured alongside cultural icons like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Ray Charles, as well as been part of contemporary artists’ work like Andy Warhol.

The Coke Bottle 100 campaign returns to these celebrities to promote Coca-Cola through art tours and advertising. In addition to a local art exhibition in the U.S., Coca-Cola is also putting on a travelling showcase across 15 countries to share the bottle’s role in art and popular culture around the world.

A limited-edition book called Kiss the Past Hello will also be published, containing past artwork, circulars as well as new interpretative artwork from contemporary artists and designers.

Another campaign component includes film to highlight the Coke bottle’s distinctive features.

In total, 14 videos were produced by Coca-Cola’s advertising agencies.  From its wavy design, its ridges, to the sound it makes when a bottle cap is removed, 10 videos were created to highlight the bottle’s unique shape.  Others highlight the bottle’s history, taste, and emotional connection to consumer.

One of these original spots includes the campaign’s anthem, “Nobody Like You”, from Canadian singer/songwriter Francesco Yates.  This song will be used in radio and television commercials throughout 2015.  Here’s the first spot–titled “Taste”–below.

Campaign Objective Remains Constant

While the campaign objective is to celebrate the iconic bottle’s history, it’s more telling how Coca-Cola is doing this.

Since 2009, the company’s central campaign has been about unlocking moments of happiness. Even as Coca-Cola celebrates the bottle’s century mark, the Coke Bottle 100 campaign must work within the company’s overarching “Open Happiness” campaign.

There are many ways to promote anniversary events, yet Coca-Cola has maintained a central blueprint among all its marketing efforts.

The ultimate message–regardless of campaign–is sharing moments of happiness with its users. This stability helps consumers recognize Coca-Cola for the one thing that Coca-Cola wants to be position itself as: opening happiness.

Jason Chong is a beverage blogger and has covered the non-alcoholic beverage landscape since 2009. Contact him or follow him on Twitter

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