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. . . that during WWII, a uniformed serviceman was commonly seen in Coca Cola advertising.  A 1943 version of this poster had to be recalled when wartime rationing prohibited this particular use of cardborad.  (see photo)...

Click to Play Our Miss Brooks #092, Mr. Boynton's Parents' from May 14, 1950

Our Miss Brooks #092, Mr. Boynton's Parents' from May 14, 1950


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Coca-Cola History
Coca-Cola's Formula
Coca-Cola's Early Advertising
Coca-Cola Sponsors Radio
Coca-Cola Goes to War
Coca-Cola and The Holidays
Coca-Cola's Calendar Girls
Coca-Cola International
Coca-Cola's Famous Bottles
Coca-Cola Processing and Delivery


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Coca-Cola's association with America and the American way of life had become ubiquitous not long after the turn of the century, and certainly, by 1920 that reality was being splashed across every newsstand, billboard, drug store, and coffee table in the country. Pepsi and Coca-Cola's other competitors complained of unfair treatment in the popular media; in one instance -- among many -- accusing Time Magazine, in 1950, of doing a prominent story on Coca-Cola simply because they advertised in the magazine. Upset, Pepsi Export's newsletter, the Bulletin, reprinted a comment written in Walter Winchell's column: "Time mag usually pummels its Front Cover subject. But Coca-Cola is given the Kid Glove Treatment. Moral: It Pays to Advertise".


Time Magazine Cover, c.1950

Whether or not Coca-Cola's competitors believed that Time was indeed showing favoritism, the message of the feature underscored the obvious: Coca-Cola had established itself as a symbol of America -- perhaps the symbol of America, both at home and abroad. Coca-Cola's advertising strategies, tactics, and techniques -- before, during and after the war -- were vital to this success. The images they created during the war buttressed those created before the war -- and, of course, the converse was true, as well. Acting interactively, these two periods of Coca-Cola advertising history provided the foothold it aimed for, and facilitated it's emergence as the American icon that it had become -- indeed one might argue, as it deserved.



Coca-Cola Compares the Wartime experiences of Three Wars, c.1943
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Coca-Cola in the hands of patriotic standies representing the female component of all five Services
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Coca-Cola circa 1942 'Pause...Go refreshed'
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Frank Bensing was always blind in one eye due to contracting scarlet fever as a child. After attending the Chicago Institute of Art for 7 years as a young man, he made his living as an illustrator and portrait painter. For fun he painted landscapes, painting in oil, pastels, and watercolors. He painted until the age of 88 and passed away at 90. The most famous protrait he painted was of Joseph P. Kennedy.


Frank Bensing illustration for "The Coke's On Me", c.1943
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Gil Elvgren -- an illustrator regarded with the same respect as Alberto Vargas -- was one of America's premiere American pin-up artists. Considered by many as the "Norman Rockwell of Cheesecake", with his exquisite oils of gorgeous girls-next-door, skirts often billowing up to reveal a flash of lovely nylon-clad limbs. He often mirrors the sheer, nostalgic revery that the breathtaking illustrations of Haddon Sundblom's "Coca-Cola" Santas evoke. And for good reason. Haddon Sundblom was one of Elgren's mentors. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gillette A. Elvgren graduated from University High School and commenced studies at the Minneapolis Art Institute.

Some of Gil's fellow students were other Coca-Cola illustration alumni, Coby Whitmore, Al Buell, Andrew Loomis, Ben Stahl and Robert Skemp. He graduated from the Institue during the depression at the age of twenty-two, joining the stable of artists at Stevens and Gross, Chicago's most prestigious advertising agency. Soon after, he became a protégé of the legendary Haddon Sundblom, who was most famous for his Coca Cola Santas. Elvgren contributed to several Coca-Cola ads. Sundblom taught his star pupil the lush brush stroke technique that makes Elvgren's girls such glowing wonders.


Gil Elvgren illustration for "Just Like Old Times", c.1945
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1945 Wartime Ad Campaign -- Brussels





1945 Wartime Ad Campaign -- Hawaii



1945 Wartime Ad Campaign -- Italy



1945 Wartime Ad Campaign -- China





1945 Wartime Ad Campaign -- Home for Holidays



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