CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — A pharmacist has uncovered what is believed to be the first sign advertising Coca-Cola, one which set the stage for one of the most successful advertising efforts in the country, historians said.
Dean Cox, owner of Young Brothers Pharmacy in Cartersville, said the 95-year-old Coca-Cola logo painted on the side of his century-old building was uncovered by restoration experts who chipped off 25 layers of paint. Old timers had told him the sign was there and a photo in an old hometown newspaper confirmed its existence.
Historians hired by the Coca-Cola Co., which is based in Atlanta, said they believe the Cartersville sign was the first ever to advertise Coke, which was invented in Atlanta in 1886.
Cox and historians have suggested the sign was created by James Couden, a traveling Coca-Cola salesman who offered to paint the wall free if he could also paint on the trademark, a practice that continues today in many countries.
Wall signs were Coke's main form of advertising during its early years. In 1905, the company allocated 10% of its advertising budget for painted signs and increased that to 25% in 1910. By 1922, there were 16,000 Coca-Cola signs.
Coke historians believe the wall signs have made Coca-Cola one of the world's best-known trademarks.