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Coca Cola WWII Military Ads

Started by Bob Hudson , May 07 2008 09:01 AM

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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:01 AM

At one of last week's estate sales I found an album of original old Coca Cola magazine ads from the 30's and 40's and there were quite a few from WWII, perhaps two dozen, plus one loose page from 1952 showing a USAF Sgt. Most of the ads appear to be from the inside or back cover of National Geographic. I will post the full ad plus a closeup of some of the details in each.

I was inspired to scan and post these as I sat here this morning with AMC on TV in the background as I worked on my computer. They're showing 1944's Wing and a Prayer and one scene showed the Coke machine in the carrier's wardroom - yes Coke really did go to war.

The ads in the album are in plastic sheets and each one is dated. This one is from August 1943 and the soldier is described as a Ranger:

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#2 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:15 AM

This one is interesting. It's the first of the post-Pearl Harbor ads to reflect that the US was now at war. Magazines often had very long lead times which meant that this ad was likely designed several months before it was printed in June 1942. The implied message is: "We're at war, but we're still making good old Coke like we always have."

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#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:25 AM

This is from August 1942. This, and the next one from October 1942, reflect the mobilization of 1942 with optimistic young men and women in uniform ready to do their duty.

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#4 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:36 AM

Of course, wartime or not, Coca Cola rolled out its iconic Santa for the December 1942 issue. In a small inset, there is what appears to be a soldier home on leave helping his family decorate the tree.

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#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:48 AM

The first 1943 issue of National Geographic came out in March:

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#6 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 09:56 AM

In April 1943, Coke used its ad space to pitch bonds.

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#7 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:03 AM

This October 1943 ad is one of many showing GI's in overseas posts (and in those days Alaska was as foreign to most Americans as any South Pacific island would have been). You have to love the wonderfully rich illustrations Coke used - it sure made that Alaskan duty look a lot more enchanting than it was :)

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#8 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:15 AM

As I mentioned above, I saw the Coke machine in the wardroom on the WWII carrier and now here's where the enlisted men got their fix of this popular sugar water.

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#9 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:23 AM

The last one for today, from April 1944, Panama:

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#10 SteveR

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:38 AM

The coke ads from the period have a lot of Norman Rockwell influence. I really like them.
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#11 Charlie Flick

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:52 AM

I really enjoyed this thread, just as I have enjoyed Coca Cola my entire life. Great stuff. Thanks for posting them.

Charlie

#12 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:53 AM

Okay one more for today, this from June 1943.

It gives Stonewall Jackson apparent credit for a Coke advertising slogan.

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#13 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 10:55 AM

By June 1944 Coca-Cola had a returning vet telling war stories:

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#14 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:37 PM

Newfoundland is not the first place that comes to mind when you think about WWII. This is from August 1944:

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#15 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:41 PM

In November 1944, Coke turned its attention to the homefront war production:

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#16 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:52 PM

In December 1944, we find a family with a son and three of his buddies home from the war:

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#17 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 04:58 PM

I must say that as I remove these from the album to scan them I am fascinated by what is on the opposite side of these pages: mostly ads for wartime industrial production including several showing P-38's. I will have to scan those and give them their own thread. I'm also finding that I have duplicates of many of these pages.

In Feb. 1945, we find a couple of flyers on the beach:

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#18 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:09 PM

This is from June 1945 and they finally show US troops (and Coca-Cola) in continental Europe:

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#19 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:15 PM

For August 1945 it's back to the Pacific:

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#20 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:28 PM

The guys in the October 1945 ad can be pegged to a certain unit, I believe. Its Seabees in the Admiralty Islands and according to Wikipedia "Construction of the naval base on Los Negros was the responsibility of the 2nd Naval Construction Regiment, with the 11th, 58th and 71st Naval Construction Battalions. "

The theme of this picture seems to be demonstrating radio to people who used drums for communications. This appeared a a month and a half after VJ Day so there is nothing in it to indicate the war was over, again due to the long lead time needed for magazine production.

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#21 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:34 PM

It's December 1945, but the Christmas tree is in the shadows: the spotlight is on the soldier home from a war that has ended, reunited with his family, holding a child he may have never seen before. It really is one of those pictures that says more than a thousand words could.

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#22 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:47 PM

This is from 1945, obviously post-VE Day and it is not from National Geographic (probably Life or Look) and is on paper instead of the light cardboard cover stock of all the above ads from the Nat. Geo. Notice the CBI on the one guy. You can tell that Coke's illustrators paid a lot of attention to the small details.

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#23 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 05:54 PM

We skip ahead now to Feb. 1952. This was in a stack of loose ads at the same sale where I got the album with the WWII ads in it. This is also a National Geographic cover and of course shows a sergeant from the less-than-five-year-old US Air Force.

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#24 Bob Hudson

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 06:20 PM

I found a list of all the National Geographic back covers ads during the war and as you can see, Coke occupied that space every other month. In bold are the ads in the album and in red are the missing ones (there's one in China that is very cool). You will notice that even in the 1940's, people got spam ads :)

1942

Jun Coke "Quality Carries On"
Jul Hormel Meats (Spam)
Aug Coca-Cola "Howdy, Friend"
Sep Sheaffer's Pens
Oct Coca-Cola "Pause...Go Refreshed"
Nov G.E. Automatic Blanket ($34.50)
Dec Coca-Cola "That Extra Something"

1943
Jan Spam, Hormel
Feb Coca-Cola "That Extra Something"
Mar Sheaffer's Pens
Apr Coca-Cola "I'm saying this for Uncle Sam!" U.S. War
May Sheaffer's Pens
Jun Coca-Cola "That Extra Something"
Jul Spam, Hormel
Aug Coca-Cola "That Extra Something"
Sep Sheaffer's Pens
Oct Coca-Cola "Have a coke = Welcome friends."
Nov General Electric "Musaphonic" radio
Dec Coca-Cola "Good winds have blown you here" (U.S. airmen & Chinese)

1944
Jan Spam, Hormel
Feb Coca-Cola "Have a coca-cola= As you were"
Mar Sheaffer's Pens
Apr Coca-Cola "Have a coca-cola=Que Hay, Amigo?
May Sheaffer's Pens
Jun Coca-Cola (military man at soda fountain)
Jul Spam, Hormel
Aug Coca-Cola "Have a coke= How are things goin'?
Sep Sheaffer's Pens
Oct Coca-Cola (Shipyards)
Nov Sheaffer's Pens
Dec Coca-Cola


1945
Jan Spam, Hormel
Feb Coca-Cola (U.S. military in Wailuku, Hawaii)
Mar Sheaffer's Pens
Apr Coca-Cola (U.S. military in Italy)
May Sheaffer's Pens
Jun Coca-Cola (U.S. military in Brussels)
Jul Spam, Hormel
Aug Coca-Cola (Pacific flyers playing chess)
Sep Sheaffer's Pens
Oct Coca-Cola (Seabees ashore)
Nov Sheaffer's Pens
Dec Coca-Cola Christmas at home, service-man)

#25 brandon_rss18

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 07:39 PM

Here is the only one that I own, I dont know what magazine it is out of but it is dated 1940 so actually pre-war, but still my favorite of them all.

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