Coke's recipe has been a cherished secret of the Atlanta-based soft drink company for more than a century. Or has it? The website, ThisAmericanlife.org, claims to have uncovered it - in a newspaper photo from 1979.
The ingredients on this list are similar to those found in a notebook owned by John Pemberton, the pharmacist who whipped up the first batch of Coca-Cola up in 1886. But anyone who has ever watched television knows the cola's real secret ingredient: advertising. In fact, the "secrecy" behind Coke is part of its lure and part of that strategy. Of course, it helps that the company spends more than $2 billion each year to advertise its carbonated, caffeinated tonic.
Coke's success owes as much to Robert Woodruff, the president of the Coca-Cola Company from 1923 to 1954, as it does to its inventor. Woodruff had the idea to use a secret formula as part of a sales strategy. Of course, it worked: the drink is now enjoyed in more than 200 countries. Perhaps the recent "release" of Coke's ingredients is just another marketing ploy. Never underestimate Coke's ability to generate a buzz.