Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Summer Road Trip 2015: World of Coca-Cola


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).

All photos contained in this article are for the purposes of news reporting. These photos contain the logos of Coca-Cola and are trademarked and copyrighted by The Coca-Cola Company ©®.

World of Coca-Cola
World of Coca Cola, Atlanta, Georgia

After you have seen what Atlanta has to offer culturally and historically; after you have had your fill of either the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War and perhaps even Gone With The Wind, you will invariably find your way near Centennial Park and across to the exhibit/museum/greatest advertisement in the "person" of the World of Coca-Cola. 

John Pemberton statue
John Pemberton, the pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola

If you have not been to Atlanta since 2006, you will learn that the museum is no longer near Underground Atlanta (a shopping and entertainment district that has seen better days). Obviously, moving the World of Coca-Cola has affected the economy of the Underground, with more tourists now staying in the Centennial Park area. For some reason, the old building is still there, overgrown with trees, seemingly decaying.

Former World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta Underground
Former location, near the Atlanta Underground

The relocated museum is a tribute to Coca-Cola and its products of course, but it can also be seen as an extreme example of American capitalism, the power of advertising and it's influence throughout the world and the unique combination of business, entertainment and a part of the American way of life that is rivaled by other such corporations such as McDonald's, Disney and Apple, in my opinion. Whole industries have been built upon simple products (such as Hershey Park). You may be amazed at how the world of advertising clearly is woven into our way of life, dictating our wants and even our vacations. I wonder what international tourists think when they tour such a place.

Coca-Cola artifacts
All things Coca-Cola (registered trademark by The Coca-Cola Company)
But digressions aside, this is a fun place. The amount of memorabilia and artifacts is a history lesson in itself. Indeed, Coca-Cola is credited with our modern visual of Santa Claus. The popular artwork of the rotund, rosy-cheeked jolly fellow was immortalized largely based on Clement C. Moore's description in his poem " "Twas the Night Before Christmas," forever cementing the American personification of St. Nick (along with other previous illustrations). Along with the greeting card industry, the Coca-Cola Santa played a major influence in the commercialization of Christmas in America, for better or worse. Mr. Moore's description of Santa delivering toys added to the creation of the secular portion of the holiday. Throw in the 1947 motion picture, "Miracle on 34th Street," with a child in the court room pointing out Santa definitively, obviously based on Coca-Cola's drawing and gift giving now centered around the toy industry and you have the makings of numerous sociological studies about the American psyche.

Illustration of the Coca-Cola Santa
Santa Claus, as imagined by Coca-Cola (registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company)

Indeed, Coca-Cola seems in awe of itself and presents a fair account of its history, it's influences, even acknowledging its mistakes such as trying to change to formula of classic Coca-Cola. The company can be credited, along with Hallmark, McDonald's and Kodak, with changing the in-your-face style of television ads during the 1960's to the more subtle approach of the 1970's, with movie style cinematography, messages of peace, world love and family life through slogans, songs and campaigns presenting Coke as part of your life, part of your rites of passage, a member of the family. All of this is part of the museum, along with toys, clothing, and interactive exhibits.

Coca-Cola Polar Bear
Polar Bear, for your photo op (registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company)

There are what can be considered a few major highlights: the promise that you will see the vault where the original formula is kept, but that's all you see, is the vault, not the formula, which is supposedly inside, a photo op with the Polar Bear character and, the room with all of the flavors and products of the world. If this seems like deja-vu to Disney Epcot fans, it's no coincidence. You can slurp and burp your way around the world as you sample flavors of carbonated (and some not carbonated) drinks (not all cola flavors). Some are extremely sweet and a few taste like tonic water. At the end, before you exit through the obligatory gift shop where you ca get your fill of all items Coca-Cola, you are given a small bottle of the famous classic formula. Drink the soda and save the bottle, since the bottling location is considered important, sort of like where your money is minted.

Photo of the Vault
The Vault

If you read every line, examine every artifact, and pass through every gallery, including the room where decades of television ads are screened, you will get your $16 worth can you can conceivably be there for hours. I can imagine on a rainy day the crowds that must be there. 

World of Coca Cola, 121 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia. 1-800-676-COKE.