Everyone knows ‘Holidays are coming’, Coca-Cola’s Christmas Truck and Santa Claus are Christmas icons – but Coca-Cola and Cupid go way back, too.

Valentine’s Day print ads in the Coca-Cola Archives date back to 1926, and Coke have been producing promotional Valentine’s content from as early as 1889. 

Coca-Cola Archivist Ted Ryan says: “The best advertising always reflects what is happening in the world at that time. I always compare it to holding a mirror up to society – you can see what hairstyles, fashion, culture and music are popular. The same idea is true of special holidays like Valentine’s Day… Coca‑Cola naturally belongs.”

Memorable moments

In 1973, a Coca-Cola USA promotion echoed the ‘love and harmony’ message from the famous 1971 ‘I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke’ ad (also known as ‘Hilltop’). With a ‘Sweetheart Special’ pack, the promotion invited consumers to ‘Buy Someone you love a Coke’, positioning Coke as ‘the real thing’.

See our vintage Coca-Cola Valentine’s Day ads dating back to the 1920s

More recently, a 23-year-old director from New Zealand created a 2012 commercial titled ‘Happiness is in the Air’. It used bouquets of red balloons to bring cans of Coca-Cola drifting down from the sky for unsuspecting couples to share.

In the same year, Coca-Cola Turkey launched an online film called ‘Love Machine.’ This mini-movie featured a vending machine in a busy Istanbul shopping mall – customised with a hidden camera, the machine dispensed free Coca-Cola to couples who showed their love with a hug or kiss.

Love is in the air

Coca-Cola has launched retail campaigns, commercials and calendars in conjunction with the romantic holiday. But it’s not just on February 14th that Coke shares the love – Jamal Booker, Coca-Cola’s manager of Heritage Communications, says: “A lot of our advertising through the years, even our non-Valentine’s Day spots, features couples enjoying time with each other and our products.

Coca-Cola Great Britain carried on the tradition last summer with ‘Love Story: the tale of two bottles’. The first-ever ad made from 100% recyclable packaging, the story shows two plastic bottles that fall in love as they meet over and over again as they’re constantly bought, recycled and turned into new bottles.

Our biggest ever, recycling-focused consumer communications campaign, the Love Story ad is just one part of our commitment to recycling and recyclable packaging. Find out more about our ambition for a sustainable future.