Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 and sold for five cents a glass. In the decades that followed, its marketing pushes had both brand and direct elements, starting with coupons for free tastes of the soda and giveaways of Coca-Cola branded clocks, scales and other equipment for shop owners. By 1979, the company had expanded its beverage line, began distributing products overseas and aligned its brand with fun and friends with the TV spot that famously sung “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.”
In the 1980s, while Coke was trying out new flavors, including Diet Coke and New Coke, it used on-package and bottle cap sweepstakes to drive sales.
In 1993, it debuted the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, which would become a well-known brand icon. Later that decade, My Coke Rewards launched on 20-ounce packages — Coke drinkers could earn points towards purchases and downloads by collecting bar code numbers and proof of purchase vouchers. The brand was an early adopter of social media, blogs, user-generated digital content and Twitter.