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Advertising Builds Loyalty

Coca-Cola, born in Atlanta at the end of the nineteenth century, owes a great deal of its success as a soda to the power of advertising.

In 1985 the company, then called Coke, changed the soda’s formula for the first time in 50 years.

The current newsletter from the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History at Duke University said, “Consumers boycotted the new product and called Coke’s hotline to complain.”

Coke listened. The company reintroduced the old formula as Coca-Cola Classic, just 75 days after the launch of the New Coke.

Advertising builds loyalty.

A parallel case took place in the nineteenth century American seed business.

Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) enjoyed a following of loyal customers across the country.

To them, he was their “Mr. Vick” who provided garden advice and, of course, seeds. For them he became the voice of the Vick Seed Company.

He sought to instill in his customers a love of flowers or, as he wrote, “a love of floriculture.”

Vick chromo of 1873
Vick chromolithograph  sold in his seed catalog of 1873

He persevered with that goal throughout the years of his leadership of the company.

In his seed catalog Vick wrote in the section called “Flora Decorations” the following words, “For many years we have endeavored to teach the people to love flowers, and how to gratify this new-born love.”

He wanted his readers to enjoy flowers but also to decorate both home and garden with flowers. He said, “Believing we could do no better service to our readers than to show them how to make home tasteful and pleasant.”

Through his consistent message about flowers customers remained faithful to Vick and his company. Even his chromolithographs that he offered for sale illustrated that theme. [above]

He advertised widely in newspapers and magazines around the country.

Advertising for Vick also came in the form of the regular seed catalog as well as his garden magazine, Vick’s Illustrated Monthly.

Advertising builds loyalty.



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