Coca-Cola's iconic hobble skirt bottle celebrates turning 100

By Glen White
Drinks behemoth Coca-Cola will celebrate the centennial of its iconic ‘hobble-skirt glass bottle with art exhibitions, a global media campaign and...

Drinks behemoth Coca-Cola will celebrate the centennial of its iconic ‘hobble-skirt’ glass bottle with art exhibitions, a global media campaign and a commemorative song composed for the occasion.

The main show celebrating 100 years of the iconic design will be held at Coca-Cola’s HQ in Atlanta.

Atlanta's High Museum of Art will open an exhibition, “The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100,” that includes works from artists such as Andy Warhol, who over the past century depicted the world famous bottle.

“The High is honored to present this exhibition celebrating an iconic American design that has influenced artists from the 20th century to the present day,” High Museum director Michael E. Shapiro said in a statement.

A touring exhibition, “The Coca-Cola Bottle Art Tour: Inspiring Pop Culture Over 100 years,” will visit Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica.

As part of the centenary the company challenged contemporary designers from many countries to ‘reinvent’ the bottle for ‘a modern audience,’ and their efforts are presented in the exhibitions and a book.

A global marketing campaign will bring consumers closer to figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles to refresh their experiences when they were ‘kissed’ by the famous bottle. There will also be centennial ads on television and the release of “Nobody Like You,” a song written by singer and composer Francesco Yates.

The history of Coca-Cola’s most iconic bottle

  • Coca-Cola was invented on May 8, 1886, when Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton tried to make a concoction to treat digestive problems that would also give energy.
  • Pemberton's accountant, Frank Robinson, created the brand name and designed the logo in Spencerian script.
  • Jacobs Drugstore was the first shop to sell the beverage, dispensing it to customers in 1897.
  • Since different bottling companies were using a variety of containers to distribute the product, a contest was held in 1915 and the Root Glass Company of Terre-Haute, Indiana, came up with the contoured bottle design, sometimes referred to as the ‘hobble-skirt’ because it resembled the shape of the skirts worn by women at the time.
  • “The design was the result of a competition that challenged bottle manufacturers to develop a container recognizable even if broken on the ground or touched in the dark. The winning design's subtle curves and green tinted glass ultimately had an outstanding impact on 20th-century visual art and culture,” the High Museum said.
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