Coca-Cola’s Secret Formula for Happiness

A shiny red can that reads “Coca-Cola” and a whole list of ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, caramel, phosphoric acid, caffeine and natural flavorings. Coca-Cola is all about the magic of good taste & flavor – and apparently something highly secret. The natural flavorings are a unique blend of vegetable extracts and spices from around the world. Coca-Cola has never told what the 7 secret ingredients are, and this “Merchandise 7X” has remained the world’s most famous trade secret since Coca-Cola’s invention in 1886.

When John Stith Pemberton sold the first glass of Coca-Cola in his pharmacy in 1886, he was entering a new market for soda fountain tonics that promised health benefits along with refreshment. In 1869, Pemberton already experimented extensively with extracts of the coca leaf and kola nut, initially marketing a moderately successful health drink called “French Wine Coca.” Fifteen years later, one of Pemberton’s partners, Frank M. Robinson, invented the name Coca-Cola, derived from its central ingredients. Robinson also registered the product’s famous script logo. A marketing phenomenon was born.

From that day on, there has always been a mystique about the “secret formula” of Coca-Cola. Folklore even said that the original beverage contained cocaine, at least until the “Pure Food and Drugs Act” was voted in 1906. The official position of the Coca-Cola Company, however, is that the drink contained extracts of the coca leaf, but never the drug. Over the years, the Coke’s attorneys have fought in court to protect Coca-Cola’s secret formula. It’s been said that the ingredient list is kept in a security vault in a bank in Atlanta, Georgia and only a few employees know the full recipe, and those employees are not allowed to fly on the same plane and cannot be left alone with strangers while they are together. Over the years, Coca-Cola’s secret formula has been the subject of books, speculation and marketing lore.

But the real “secret ingredients” reach far above vegetable extracts or spices. Coca-Cola’s true magic is all about love, perspective, universality, friendship, purpose, humor and optimism. It’s a way of living spontaneous & finding happiness. It’s the belief that together we can create a more positive reality, where global love and joy rule supreme.

The current global “The Coke Side of Life” advertising campaign invites people to live in full color and listen to their hearts. The “Coke Side” is the positive side of life and focusses on universal experiences. Coke is probably the most famous cultural icon that links people from all-over the world. At its core, the concept of sharing is the purest essence of Coca-Cola. Drinking a Coca-Cola brings people from different nationalities, cultures and walks of life together. “The Pause that Refreshes” is a universal language and global connector, happiness in a bottle.

Coca-Cola Remix Art: “Universal Love on the Coke Side of Life” by Yker Moreno / DJ Spinbalon.

Coca-Cola = A Soda Pop, a Strong Idea, Part of Global Economies & Cultures, a Trusted Friend, a Personal Brand

Dan Schawbel posted this very interesting interview with Jerry Wilson, senior vice president at The Coca-Cola Company on his Personal Branding blog.
As an executive for the N°1 brand in the world, Wilson shares his vision about brand development and personal branding.

“Coca-Cola personifies authenticity, life’s simple pleasures and optimism. We learned many years ago, during the New Coke launch, that our brand Coca-Cola is actually “owned” by our consumers all around the world, not the corporation”. Jerry Wilson

Wilson joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1988. His background includes general management, brand marketing, strategic planning, customer management and people development.
Recently, Jerry wrote a book called “Managing Brand You: 7 Steps to Creating Your Most Successful Self.”

Steve Penley’s Coke Art – Bold, Impassioned & Vivid

In 2008, Coca-Cola Company celebrates the artistic contributions of famed Georgia artist, Steve Penley, by presenting an exhibition of his work at the New World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. On loan from public and private collectors, the exhibit features Penley’s most significant Coca-Cola inspired pieces, including several new paintings created for the attraction.

The Penley collection follows the year-long exhibition of Andy Warhol paintings on loan from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and will be the first time a collection of Penley’s Coca-Cola themed work of this scale will be presented to the public.

Best known for his iconic portraits, Steve Penley is one of America’s most popular southern artists. His signature painting style incorporates bold color, strong brush strokes and vivid imagery.

“Like Warhol, Penley finds inspiration in everyday iconic images that are familiar and accessible to everyone,” said Ted Ryan, The Coca-Cola Company, Archives Collection Manager. “His work reflects a sense of optimism and positivity that makes Coca-Cola an ideal muse for his art.”

The collection is accompanied by tags handwritten by Penley featuring the back-story behind each piece.

“I love to paint historical subjects, and Coke is such a part of history that it naturally fits into my genre”.

“The colors of Coke are so well know that it is fun to experiment with new colors and see these familiar images in a new way”.

“I love to dig in to the rich dark color of the Coke in the traditional bell shaped glass. The light sparkles and shines with the reflections of the ice”.

“The Coke bottles lines and curves are fun to explore and throw color on. The bottle is a piece of art itself so it is an easy subject”.

On display through May 2009, the Penley collection at The World of Coca-Cola features more than 15 pieces, including video footage of the artist at work in his studio.

You can find more info on the blog of Phil Mooney, historian/archivist for The Coca-Cola Company for the last 30 years:

    Other useful links:

The World of Coca-Cola

Steve Penley’s website

Special thanks to The Coca-Cola Archives Dept.

Live on the Coke Side of Life

A wise man once said that the simple ideas are the cleverest. “The Coke Side of Life” is all about a simple idea, really. Drinking a Coke makes people happy. It tastes good. And it’s an invitation to “live on the positive side of life.” That’s the message behind ‘The Coke Side of Life,’ Coca-Cola’s global campaign that launched in 2006.

Coca-Cola has always been at its best when it reflects the simple, optimistic moments in life. The Coke Side of Life recognises that the most universal experiences are those where Coca-Cola is refreshingly honest and uplifting.

The Coke Side of Life campaign invites people to create their own positive reality, to be spontaneous, listen to their hearts and live in full colour.

Welcome to the Coke side of life. Willkommen auf der Coca-Cola-Seite des Lebens. Bem-vindo ao lado Coca-Cola da vida. Benvenuto sul lato Coca-Cola della vita. Hayat›n Coca Cola taraf›na hoflgeldiniz. Bienvenue côté Coca.

Welcome to this story of positivity. Keep your eyes wide open, so you don’t miss the show. Because it’s all about perspective, the way you look at things. Seeing the glass never half empty but always half full. Hoping for the best, never expecting the worst. See both sides of the story and chose the happy ending.

Live on the Coke side of life. Leb auf der Coca-Cola-Seite des Lebens. Viva no lado Coca-Cola da vida. Prendi il lato Coca-Cola della vita. Hayat›n Coca Cola taraf›nda yafla. Prenez la vie côté Coca.

Pick up your Coca-Cola bottle like a happiness requester. There’s no such thing as a debt for all the smiles you’ve been spending. Pick up the phone when optimism rings, take every no and replace it with a big Yesss!

Walk on the Coke side of life. Geh auf der Coca-Cola-Seite des Lebens. Caminhe pelo lado Coca–Cola da vida. Fai due passi sul lato Coca-Cola della vita. Hayat›n Coca Cola taraf›nda yürü. Avancez côté Coca.

Doo, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo doo… Take a walk on the wildflower side. Look around & enjoy! Recharge your batteries for an effervescent mind. That’s bubbling, about to overflow. Happiness may not come from a bottle but those bubbles seem to act like a feel-good throttle on your mental motorbike, on your way to Zen. For all the kings and queens of the Coke Side, your smile is a crown!

Perfect Harmony

Togetherness – feeling connected to your family and friends, a community and the planet is the first step to tear down the barriers between cultures.
Deep down inside, we are all social creatures who find our greatest fulfillment and happiness when we are connected in positive ways to the people that surrounds us. Perhaps this is our real goal: to feel good about our lives and share this feeling of happiness with others.

In the 21st century global community, lives all over the planet intertwine more than ever through communication technology and the travel democracy. If nowadays generation is taught that our interpersonal, cultural differences are a rich heritage, a tribute to the unique character of our species, they will enthusiastically embrace diversity.

In many ways, we could say that ‘Coca-Cola’ has always embraced this idea: make the world a little bit better by passing on happiness by building understanding of and appreciation for the differences in human beliefs and cultures. By fostering the sense that, in the most profound way, we are all one family, the human family.

No wonder that ‘Coca-Cola’’s ‘Hilltop’ spot was one of the most successful TVCs ever produced. Its huge success can not be explained simply because the images were appealing and the tune catchy, but because the message taps into a profound, human longing for community.

Here you can see the original Coca-Cola Hilltop commercial: I’d like to teach the world to sing.


Hilltop – Coke Art Remix by Pixecute

Hilltop – Coke Art Remix by 013a


* Hilltop” is the first historical ad ever to be restored in High Definition (HD). It can still be viewed by the public as it was donated to the Library of Congress in Washington DC in 2000.

* The international cast included actors from more than 20 countries.

* The opening scene was shot at a horse racetrack outside of Rome forcing unusual camera angles during the opening scene as the director tried to avoid having telephone wires in the background of the shots; the rest of the commercial was shot on the hilltop.

* Within 10 days of the U.S. release of “Hilltop,” The Coca-Cola Company received 10,000 letters from consumers thanking the Company for the message in the ad. Consumers also called television stations asking when the commercial was scheduled to air.

* The song “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” was written in less than 24 hours.

* The cast did not actualy sing “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” but rather lip-synced to a New Seekers recording.

* “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” has been recorded and released more than 75 times since 1971. It’s most recent appearance on the top 40 charts was in a song performed by British tribute band No Way Sis’ in 1998. Four years earlier, Oasis used the song as inspiration for their hitsingle “Shakermaker”.

Source: The Coca-Cola Press Center



Karoly Kiralyfalvi has been involved in street-art since his teen years, “As a kid, I was always interested in visual arts, but the main influence came from my father, who was a painter, a poet and a sculptor. Pencils and markers were always my tools, until one day my father bought our first computer. Computer graphics have been my passion ever since”. As a teenager, Karoly became part of the local scene and under the name Extraverage, he made a name for himself. With his great skills, he mixes different styles and art languages in a powerful way. His work includes design for stickers, cans, clocks, magazines, books, posters, boards, tracksuits and t-shirts. Karoly is especially interested in design and images that stand on their own: bold, simple and strong!
Karoly is also the man behind projects like the World Wide Connections PDF Magazine and the Print4Street urban art gallery, and the founder of, a community platform for Hungarian designers., his personal portfolio, features an extensive catalogue of his amazing graphics.


In high school I was already making illustrations for a course book. My first official job was in 2001, as a graphic designer and DTP editor of an urban lifestyle magazine. That was also the time I switched from analogue design to computers.

The inspiration for my work comes from everyday life, like the city itself, friends, music (mainly from the 1997-2000 electronic scene from the UK), books, contemporary art, traveling, … I’m also very inspired by my father, who was a multi-disciplined artist.

The greatest thing is to work for projects in the same scene I’m interested in. For example working for brands that support the underground music scene, urban artists, and things like these.
Another nice example is of course a global collaboration project with great designers around the world, like the current Remix Project for ‘Coke’. It’s always really interesting to see the end results.

I tried consciously to use the warm ‘Coca-Cola’ colours, and to focus on positive feelings and shapes in the graphics. The aim was to create something happy and fresh, in line with the iconic ‘Coca-Cola’ images.

Actually the basic idea of the Remix Project: give a blank canvas to an artist and let him work around a theme. The briefing gave us endless possibilities to experiment. This liberty was the biggest inspiration.

The “Yes in the face of No” was quite hard to handle, my first feeling was to show the impact of the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’. The ‘yes’ is colourful and positive, and fights with ‘no’ in a friendly way. Of course you always hope that the ‘yes’ will win…

It took long years, and the reason is that I’m always open to new things; always trying to create fresh versions of my artworks, trying new directions. Nowadays, I feel there’s a style I’m recognizable for…

Ninety percent of my graphic works is planned in my head first and then realized with computer. The basic shapes and the main impulse of each job is based on my experience and style. Then you have to mix concept & style correctly.

Actually in front of my computer, working on personal projects. Or somewhere in the streets, riding a bike. In luckier cases, I’m abroad!

Always simple, pure and fresh.

Be Really Refreshed

“Here’s the way to feel refreshed” was a slogan that caught the eye from magazine readers in the 1940s. “Your thirst takes wings when you treat it with to an ice-cold Coca-Cola”. Even the busiest man in the world comes up smiling after ‘the pause that refreshes’.

From the earliest days, ‘Coca-Cola’ has a very simple purpose, and that is to offer people of the world a moment out of the day to relax, to enjoy and to be refreshed.

The feeling when you drink an ice-cold ‘Coke’ from that traditional curvy glass bottle on a steamy hot day is one of those things you never forget or fail to appreciate. Your whole body relaxes as that caramel-like sweetness hits your tongue and is followed by that wonderfully pleasant burn as it hits the back of your throat and is finally welcomed by your stomach as it quenches your thirst. That, my friends, is refreshment!

Here you can see some amazing images from those early days…