Magazine ad for Coca-Cola’s “Peace in 1970” T-shirt.
Coca-Cola calendars go a long way back. The first one was produced in 1891, featuring an attractive young woman wearing a fashionable dress and holding a tennis raquet. Over the years, Coca-Cola would introduce hundreds of “Coca-Cola Girls”, holding the most different objects such as skis, ice skates, a pen, fan or umbrella and of course a glass or bottle of their favorite soda drink.
From the 1900’s, Coca-Cola also sometimes turned from pretty but anonymous girls to show biz stars. Lillian Norica, a Metropolitan Opera star, was featured on calendars starting in 1904. Another early favorite was legendary actress Hilda Clark.
By the 1920’s the Coca-Cola calendar girls were posing at activities, which included baseball games and various social events.
In the 1930’s, Coca-Cola took a somewhat higher road by calling upon leading artists of the time to contribute illustrations for their calendars. Norman Rockwell illustrated Huckleberry Finn in 1932 and used similar subjects for the company’s calendars during that decade. Other famous illustrators for Coca-Cola during the 1930’s included Frederic Stanley, N.C. Wyeth and Bradshaw Crandall.
In the 1940’s, Coke invented Sprite Boy, a funny character wearing a bottle cap on his head and the era of beautiful Coca-Cola ladies continued, together with other subjects like Santa theme, which prooved to be an instant success. Coke added “zest” to their advertising slogans in the 1950’s, and also made available the visually charming illustrations as “home calendars”.
The art on the calendars is so strong and compelling that it is often used on other Coca-Cola advertising. Coca-Cola calendars are both appealing and striking in design. “Calendars are certainly the most beautiful of all Coca-Cola collectibles,” says Coke historian, collector and writer Allen Petretti. “Because of the beautiful artwork and colors, and the rarity of many, Coke calendars have become the most important pieces in my collection.”
This Retro Pop Art Calendar designed by RockAndRoll Agency features “visual samples” from the iconic Coca-Cola calendars of the 1910s – ’50s. It’s a true tribute to the delightful Coca-Cola vintage illustrations, capturing the essence of having good, old fashioned fun.
Concept & Realization Coca-Cola Iconic Calendar: RockAndRoll Agency.
Project Team Coca-Cola: Muriel Soupart, Arnaud Tasiaux.
Special Thanks to the Coca-Cola Collections Development/Archives Dept, Atlanta.
Sources: Coca-Cola Conversations, Colector’s Blog http://www.coca-colaconversations.com/
Classic Coca-Cola Calendars by Allen Petretti.