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…

Did you know Valentine’s Day print ads in the Coca-Cola Archives date all the way back to 1926? In fact, we’ve been producing promotional Valentine’s content from as early as 1889. And, ever since then, we’ve always jumped at the chance to show our love for the most romantic holiday of the year, adding our refreshing taste to Cupid’s arsenal.

With today’s love fest marking 130 years since that initial holiday tie-in, we thought there’d be no better time to look back through the history books than Valentine’s Day 2019.

Here’s what the history books hold…

Memorable moments

1906: Delicious, Refreshing

“The best advertising always reflects what’s happening in the world at that time,” says Coca-Cola Archivist Ted Ryan. “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.”

1911: All the world loves a Coke

And there have been lots of romantic moments for us throughout the years. 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.’

1927: 7 million a day 

More recently, a 23-year-old director from New Zealand created a 2012 commercial titled ‘Love is in the Air’, using 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’ – echoing a print ad of ours from 1970 (pictured below).

2012: 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.

1946: Choose your partner 

But it’s not just on February 14th that Coke shares the love. Jamal Booker, Coca-Cola’s manager of Heritage Communications, explains:

“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.”

1969 and 1970: A pair of straws and The Love Machine 

You can see more of our historic Valentine’s Day ads here.

Love is in the air

Coca-Cola Great Britain carried on the tradition in 2017 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 and meet over and over again as they’re constantly bought, recycled and turned into new bottles.

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.