Celebrating 127 Years of Coke's Heritage

Ted Ryan, the guy in red in the photo above, has a job that many would dream of.

Also known as the Director of Heritage Communications a.k.a. Archivist of Coca-Cola, Ted's work brings him into contact with Coke's significant collection worth US$15 million of artefacts, artworks and antiques. Part preserver, presenter and promoter (he is also a blogger for Coke), Ted's 15 year experience in Coke makes him a walking encyclopedia of this ubiquitous and beloved beverage brand.

Thanks to an invitation from Coca-Cola Singapore, I had the privilege of meeting Ted and hearing Coke's story through the ages. It was fascinating to discover how John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist, created the formula for Coke and peddled it to Jacobs' Pharmacy to be sampled by its customers for just five cents a glass way back in 1886. While much of the company has evolved over the years, it is interesting to see how strongly it kept to its brand values over the past century.

Celebrating its 127th birthday, Coca-Cola is truly a heritage brand. With its huge brand cachet - it is still the number one brand in the world for the 13th year running - it's inevitable that Coke is more than a sweet caramel coloured carbonated drink. Indeed, judging by the number of collectors of Coke paraphernalia (and their sheer enthusiasm), it is clear that many are infected by its philosophy of happiness.

Join me on a visual tour of Coke through the past and present, while feasting your eyes on its delectable collectibles!

This magazine advertisement is more than a century old, but its still charming don't you think?

I'm sure many collectors would love this vintage Coke serving tray.

My personal favourite are these Coca-Cola Yo Yos. I still recall how these were the top-of-the-line ones compared to the "unbranded" varieties (no kidding!).

Another icy cold blast from the past. Can any Tamil speaking friends identify what the words mean?

Naturally, the most iconic item are these bottles of Coke over the decades.

Ted signing some autographs from Coke collectors in Singapore. I'm sure it would be worth lots one day!

Trivial pursuit Coke style. Can you guess the answer to this question?

How about this more recent example?

A lucky winner of a collector's item Coke straw dispenser.

Coke's repository somehow reminded me of NHB's own Heritage Conservation Centre. Of course, most of the items here are splashed in scarlet red!

Ted seemed especially proud of his involvement in creating this line of fashion designer Coke bottles.

This is good advice for any FMCG brand around the world.

Our parents and grandparents were probably Coke drinkers in the past too.

In case you don't already know, the red-suited pudgy Santa was a creation of Coke way back in 1931! Somehow or other, Coke ads always captures the Christmas spirit for me.

I can still remember this advertisement and its everlasting melody: "I like to teach the world to sing....."

Its time for the charity auction (all proceeds to the Red Cross). Ted holds up an age-old Coke thermometer.

Tiffany is next with a collector's item coffee table book (circa 1986/87).

An antique coke-bottle shaped radio for sale. I believe its still working.

Three out-of-print Coke calendars held by June, Laura and Tiffany.

A final item for auction - the original musical notes of a song specially composed by Coke. I wonder how it sounds like? A total of $648 was raised and this was topped up by Coke making it a total of $1,296 for the Red Cross Food Aid. This will go towards feeding 3 families for this year.

A family portrait with Coke collectors, staff, bloggers and Ted Ryan.

Finally a goodie bag from Coke with items to add to my collection. My son immediately rushed to consume that bottle of Coke!

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