If It’s Not Coke, Don’t Fix It: How Coke Got Its Iconic Shape

May 26, 2015

Ask any member of the Ernest Packaging Solutions consulting team and they’ll tell you that packaging tells a story. That story can be anything from “we’re innovative” to “we care about the environment”.

How do you know when you have the right packaging? Well, if it works, people know it’s you by sight alone. And if it hasn’t had to change in the last 100 years, you may have a winner on your hands. The “contour bottle,” as the Coca-Cola Company calls it, fits that description perfectly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 9.59.21 AMBack in 1916 when the design was first used to distinguish Coke from all of the cola competitors that were popping up across the country, most people were angry that automobiles were frightening their horses and that scantily clad women had the audacity to show their knees at the public pool!

So much has changed since then. Yet Coke’s distinctive curve appeal has remained. The company even trademarked the shape, so there is no mistaking a genuine Coke from off-brand travesty. We’re looking at you, King Cola!

The iconic Coke bottle even featured prominently into the recent series finale of “Mad Men”. (We don’t want to spoil anything, so that’s all we’ll say about that.)

How important is branding of the packaging to Coke? Well one study from Germany found that people “reported they got more pleasure from tasting colas labeled ‘Coke’ and ‘Pepsi’ compared to generic ones. Brain scans revealed they were indeed reacting differently to the drinks on a neural level. This effect was found despite the fact that all the samples consisted of the same beverage.”

That’s basically a scientific way of saying “people can’t tell the difference between sodas except when they know one is a Coke.” And with Coke’s bottle design being so integrally tied to its brand, it means people enjoy the product more than they would without it.

Check out some of the ads they’re creating to mark the 100 year anniversary of the contour bottle to see how important it is to their brand. Now that’s packaging that drives a company forward!

For another great example of how packaging can help define a company’s brand, read about our recent work with SnackNation and Poindexter Nut Company.

Looking for ways to create packaging that is memorable and can actually make people happy? Contact us today to learn how custom packaging design can help your business!