Industry Insight — Promotional Merchandise from Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is one of the most persistently effective brands when it comes to marketing presence. The soft drink giant has a history of using promotional merchandise—pens, T-shirts, bottle openers, keychains, you name it—to market itself to consumers.

It’s also one of the oldest and most dedicated users of promotional merchandise, and was years ahead of every other beverage company in the marketing game. Here’s a look at Coca-Cola’s promotional merchandise through the ages.


Late 19th century

In 1891, Coca-Cola produced its first promotional merchandise in the form of vintage calendars, and kept on doing so every year for a decade. These calendars featured popular female singers and models of the time.

In 1893, Coca-Cola started producing signature clocks with their logo in neon lighting, and gave them to restaurants or shops that bought at least a hundred gallons of Coca-Cola. Every customer in the restaurant could see the Coca-Cola brand name whenever they looked at the time as a result.

Early 20th century

In 1929, Coca-Cola started producing sheet metal coolers for retailers—now, they could store their bottles of Coca-Cola in a Coca-Cola branded cooler that they placed in front of the store.

This was an effective marketing strategy since the bright red coolers caught the eye of customers and increased the brand’s reach.

Mid to late 20th century

The 1950s saw a huge change in style and fashion from the previous decade. The fifties popularised the t-shirt, which remains a wardrobe staple to this day. The marketers at Coca-Cola recognised this trend, and started creating tees to market their drink. They made vintage art and pop-art a central theme of Coca-Cola t-shirts. Coca-Cola still uses t-shirts to market their brand.

In 1955, Coca-Cola started working in conjunction with McDonald’s. Customers at McDonald’s were given Coca-Cola branded glasses. The brands still work together, even today. This coming together of two giants has been immensely successful.


Coca-Cola today

From then to now, Coca-Cola has launched countless promotional products in every country it operates in. They use unique strategies for each locality, depending on consumer tastes and sensibilities—but one thing that remains common is the brand loyalty they’ve managed to build.

Many of their customers wear Coca-Cola branded t-shirts, make use of Coca-Cola branded keychains and water bottles, and even collect Coca-Cola merchandise. Their customers are an advertisement for the brand itself. Coca-Cola is a brand that has managed to stay relevant for nearly a century and a half through the sheer force of their marketing strategies.


At Absolute Promotions, we care about growing your brand. We are a promotional merchandise company located in Perth, and offer a wide range of customisable corporate gifts, so you can use your logo on the products of the brands you trust.

Contact us today to promote your business through our products anywhere in Australia!