Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 and originally contained cocaine.
“When the first Coca-Cola was served, soda water had been dispensed for 70 years by American pharmacists with claims that it could reverse all kinds of illnesses, from shingles and liver disease to simple malaise.”
In 1899, Coke’s founder, Asa Candler, gave two lawyers a perpetual contract to buy Coke syrup at a fixed price, a decision that would haunt the company for decades.
The Coca-Cola Company first made money only by selling its patented secret syrup.
Candler never thought there was any money in bottling, so he separated the bottling operation entirely from syrup production and sales.
Coke’s top executives were sales-oriented company veterans who believed Coke had a messianic mission that could produce positive global change.
Pepsi became a competitor during the Depression, when it sold cheaper pop.
(Employees considered it) “an act of disloyalty to consume a rival beverage, even if the rival had such a tiny slice of the market that it was virtually insignificant compared with Coke’s.”
“Coke employees wouldn’t spend the night in a Marriott Hotel because it served Pepsi only.”
In the 1980s, Coke focused on share price, neglecting parts of its global system.
New Coke, introduced in 1985, was one of the greatest marketing flops in history.
Coke’s heavy-handed sales agreements often ignited resentment from its customers, competitors and, eventually, some European Union nations.
Coke’s inbred culture eventually spawned a racial discrimination lawsuit, bad relations with its bottlers and poor crisis management, which forced out a top executive.