Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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Fanta; National Socialist ‘Cola’

Coca Cola has been an established brand for more than a century and is recognised world over. There is a market for the brand in every country, except for Cuba and North Korea. It has a number of much-loved subsidiary products for sale in addition to its flagship enterprise. It may be surprising to learn, however, that for one of them, its origins are located in a dark period of history. This is the overview of Fanta and its National Socialist founding.

Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into National Socialist Germany during the Second World War following trading embargoes implemented by the US Government. In order to get around this, Max Keith, head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) created a new product for the German market, with the ingredients only available in Germany at the time, i.e. whey and pomace. Producing a name occurred when Max Keith implored his team to "use their imagination" (Fantasie aüf Deutsch), where one salesman, Joe Knipp, imagined "Fanta!"


This unofficial offshoot was distanced from the Coca Cola Company during the war, following which, after peace was declared, the company regained control of the plant responsible, acquired the formula and the trademarks to the new soft drink product, together with the profits generated during wartime.


After being temporarily disbanded, and in the process of competing against the Pepsi corporation in the 1950s, Coca Cola reintroduced Fanta in 1955.


In more recent times, the Coca Cola PR department has invested heavily in its marketing and brand imagery. Harking back to the ‘Good Old Times’ was one way in which this legendary brand hoped to develop its pedigree status. However, understanding the context of how Fanta came into existence, one might realise the political backlash that followed.


The following advert hoped to celebrate the 75 years of history that Fanta has enjoyed. Forgetting, somewhat, the problems that might be incurred when referencing National Socialist beginnings in the German media.

As a result, a Fanta spokesman told the Express it was meant to “evoke positive childhood memories” and apologised for what happened when airing the advert. Indeed, the company insists that the “brand had no association with Hitler or the Nazi Party” and the advert was pulled.

When furthering brand awareness and association, there are certain aspects that need not be highlighted!  



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