This picture can be found online with the claim that it dates back to 1936 and shows a Nazi themed advertisement for Coca Cola.
The picture was and still is widely used on social media as a way to point out alleged hypocrisy of the brand by placing it next to an 2019 Coca-Cola label from the ‘love is love’ campaign of 2019 that promoted tolerance and acceptance of non-traditional relationships.
But the 1930s Coca-Cola label is a modern fake.
Although Coca-Cola was available in Germany during the 1930s and its ads can be found in magazines and booklets alongside Nazi propaganda, this picture is a modern fabrication made in 2004.
A few things give away that it is not genuine.
There are grammar mistakes in the text.
The sentence ‘ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Getrank’ should have started with a capital letter and the word ‘Getrank’ is missing an umlaut.
Although not impossible, it would be very unlikely for such a big brand to make two grammar mistakes in such an important advertising campaign.
It changed the famous Nazi slogan ‘Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer’ (One people, one empire, one leader) into ‘ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Getrank’; “one people, one empire, one drink”.
The Nazis would not have approved of the idea that a drink would be sold by altering their most successful slogan in such a way that their leader would be replaced by a soft drink.
Insulting Hitler is always a good thing, but not smart when you’re trying to sell something in Nazi Germany.
The Next line; “Coke ist es” is clearly a direct translation of the slogan “Coke is it”, but that was not used till 1982 (source).
In 1936 the Coca Cola slogan would have been “Ice-cold sunshine.” but in Germany Coca Cola used “Stets Eiskalt” (Always ice cold).
On top of that the whole look just feels wrong.
Coca-Cola didn’t have the little registered trademark mark (®) as part of its logo till the 1950s and even then it still had the words Trade-mark in front of it.
The brand didn’t change their logo to it only having the registration mark till 1991.
Using the Nazi eagle as a background image while also tilting doesn’t really fit the style of pre-war advertising and this too might be something the Nazis would have disapproved of.
So where does this image come from?
On the 24th of May 2004 an art show called “Coca-Cola’s Nazi Adverts” opened in London, it was curated by comedian Mark Thomas and artist Tracey Moberly (Sanderswood).
The goal of the exhibit was to confront people with the truth behind Coca Cola advertising in Nazi Germany but they also invited artists and members of the public to contribute to the exhibition.
Work could be submitted via a website.
You can read about it here;
I traced the original photo to Scott van Looy who uploaded it to his personal gallery which unfortunately is no longer online.
But I got in touch and he checked with the exhibit organizer, just to be sure.
And indeed, van Looy had taken the photo at the exhibit on June 10, 2004, it was definitely a fake advertisement.
Unfortunately it is not (yet) known who send in the creation but it is should be one of these people;
List of participating artists (click).
More information can be found on Tracey Moberly (Sanderswood)’s website here;
Thanks to Mr. van Looy for helping out.
- The Martin guide to vintage Coca-Cola memorabilia
- The Coca-Cola Company
- Scott Joyce Photography
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Picture(s) found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to these images, I only share them here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.
If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall alter the article.
If you’re interested in using any of the images here get in touch with the copyright owners mentioned in the article.
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