Image Annotation: A Coca Cola ad from World War 2

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I chose to annotate this image, an ad for War Bonds from World War 2 paid for by Coca-Cola. I got the image from a Duke University database of old advertisements.

The image really captured my imagination because of how seemingly different it is from modern advertisements. I talked about many of the specific differences through the Flickr annotations I used, but there are some overall ones that I couldn’t really annotate appropriately. The most important of these would be the slogan at the top, “A Quicker victory”. “Quicker for Victory” or “Q4V” was one of the pivotal slogans of WWII. It was a call to the embattled nation to do their part in speeding up the arrival of America’s victory, which was regarded as more of an eventuality than a supposed outcome. The inclusion of a government-created slogan in a corporate ad is somewhat amazing to me. It shows how different our nation was in that time of war that a corporation as big as Coke would allow itself to be allied with a specific government, even though it had, and still has a worldwide presence.

Overall, the fact that the company who paid for the ad is almost an afterthought, a logo in the corner and a small line of text, is so amazing to me. With advertising today, no matter how charitable or well-meaning, the focus is always the company or the product. The example that jumps to my mind is when Tide went to a post-Katrina New Orleans with a mobile clothes-washing station, in the form of a giant van emblazoned with the Tide logo and colors all over, to clean people’s clothes free of charge. The brought camera crews with them, produced multiple TV spots and a short documentary about their service. Even in their philanthropy, the message was still “Tide”.

Here, however, Coca-Cola has dropped such pretense in favor of truly putting their support behind what they believe is a noble cause. It’s hard to see the Coca-Cola of today, or any other name-brand product for that matter, doing the same.

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