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The Curious Reason why Coca-Cola Cans and Bottles are Red

You do not even need to see your logo, not even about a product. On the shelf of the supermarket or on the bar counter, a brief glance is enough to identify that this drink is, effectively, a Coca-Cola.

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You do not even need to see your logo, not even about a product. On the shelf of the supermarket or on the bar counter, a brief glance is enough to identify that this drink is, effectively, a Coca-Cola.

That miracle of design is comparable to other industry greats like Apple (so white, with its boxes of pure and straight lines, with its bitten apple), Twitter (that little bird …) or Chanel (its two letters crossovers, its eternal combination of white and black), among others.

In the case of Coca-Cola, it is clear: it is the red color that makes us know what we are asking for, what we are drinking. Hence, from 2018, the brand reinforced the color red in its corporate image and changed the cans (and slightly the glass bottles) to give prominence to the red, both in the cans of normal soda and light, zero, without caffeine, light without caffeine, zero without caffeine, zero cherry flavor and light lemon flavor, that is, in all flavors available in Spain. But why red? And why that Coca-Cola red color so identifiable?

In the presentation of the packaging redesign in Spain last year the company announced that the color red comes from the first days of the creation of the soft drink, more than 130 years ago. First, in 1886, Coca-Cola began selling in pharmacies as a syrup for digestions that gave energy, glass to glass. Five years later, it was created as a company and in 1897 it was already bottled throughout the United States, although initially each bottler used its own labels. In Spain, Coca Cola arrived in 1953 and 1954.

According to the brand, “from the mid-90s, we began to paint our barrels red so that tax agents could distinguish them from alcohol during transport”. That seems to be the origin of that iconic red that Salvador Dalí (in 1943) and Andy Warhol in the 60s came to paint. From there, in 1892, his first posters “painted on the wall” were designed “with a red background with White letters”.

The official color of the drink was created with three different shades of red, but nevertheless it is not registered in the color catalogs nor by Pantone, precisely because it is a mixture of several. The one that is registered is its typeface, the so-called Spencerian, of the favorites in the world of design at the end of the 19th century and which has remained associated with the brand ever since. It also remains the same since 1899 its bottle, called Contour.

The can format was created in 1945 to be able to supply the drink to the displaced soldiers in World War II. Although its size is the same (the 250-milliliter format was incorporated some time ago), its design evolves. Curiously, an evolution very different from the one that was implemented months ago in the United States, where the can of the Diet format was extended and incorporated even new flavors: ginger with lime, cherry, mango and orange. In addition, instead of betting on red in Coca Cola, it was decided to reinforce the value of the own Diet brand kept the silver in the whole can.

From Cola-Cola Spain they assure to Business Insider that, although they are very similar, in Spain the Light brand is not the same that Diet, for that reason there are not those same flavors and that the cans are not equal. But he assures that, if it is detected in the market that this trend is interesting, he would consider implementing it in Spain. Does anyone want a sugar-free Coca-Cola flavored with blood orange?

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