—David Mitchel, Norton Mitchel Marketing

Coca-Cola is celebrating its 125th birthday this month. A 125 year history as a brand is quite remarkable. Very few brands last that long. In its 125 history, Coca-Cola has become an iconic brand globally.

Coca-Cola is a great case in showing the importance of the various elements of the marketing mix working harmoniously together. I have frequently stressed the importance of this and the brand experience is dictated by this mixture. Coca-Cola’s packaging has been consistent over the years, as has it script lettering. The product has had some slight alterations but has generally remained consistent. The New Coke debacle of the 1980s is one of the biggest product failures both in the history of Coca-Cola and the history of brand marketing. Let’s also not forget distribution. This CNBC special, showed Coca-Cola available in remote parts of Africa. However, the advertising/communication is where Coca-Cola has shown immense consistency.  

Although the ads change over time, the general themes expressed in the ads do not. Coca-Cola is known for reinforcing the ideas of happiness, togetherness and refreshment in ads across the globe. In a number of past ad campaigns, Coca-Cola used the tag line "Have a Coke and a Smile.” The classic Super Bowl ad from 1979 featuring Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Mean Joe Greene and a young boy show refreshment on the part of Greene and delight on the part of the young boy. During the holidays, Coca-Cola has often used ads with smiling polar bears. Happiness, togetherness and refreshment were a part of 2010’s Super Bowl ad in a co-branding arrangement with "The Simpsons.”

Coca-Cola’s remarkable consistency is a significant reason for why I have considered it one of the most well managed consumer products brands. Brands of all sizes can implements facets of Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy to enhance marketing outcomes.