How the French Responded when Coca-Cola first Came to France

The Coca-Cola company decided in 1950 that the French were ready for the great taste of Coke. So in April that year, the company started its marketing campaign targeting the country.

Unofficially, Coca-Cola had been available in France since 1919 but was not generally available to the public at large. But with the proliferation of refrigerators in French homes, the Coca-Cola company on the opportunity. With the slogan “Drink Fresh,” Coca-Cola vans toured the streets and salesmen distributed samples to adults and children, in what Coke now calls “La révolution du froid” (The cold revolution).

At a Paris bar, a man in a beret spits a mouthful of Coca-Cola at the camera.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

View of a Coca-Cola delivery truck as it crosses Pont de l’Archeveche, near the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

A bystander watches as a man pours a bottle of Coca-Cola into a glass held by a smiling, elderly man, in Paris, France.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Several unidentified men drink bottles of Coca-Cola, in Paris, France.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

“The invitation “Have a Coke” is a symbol of a Yank soldier’s felling of friendliness toward folks in Paris. It says “We’re your allies, we wish you well” in a way as American as baseball.” — US COCA-COLA AD, 1945

People buying Coca-Cola at an air exhibition.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

In 1950, the Coke salesmen shown here wore plain boiler suits with a vaguely military look, possibly to remind Parisians of the American liberating army of World War II, and also perhaps to blend in with the people still recovering from the hardships of war and occupation.

Coca-Cola magazine ad (1945)

IMAGE: PUBLIC DOMAIN

In a Paris shop, a man pours a bottle of Coca-Cola into a glass held by an elderly woman.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Watched by a man with several bottles in his hands, a woman drinks a bottle of Coca-Cola in a shop, in Paris, France.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

A young woman drinks a bottle of Coca-Cola in a Paris shop.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

A Coca-Cola delivery driver sits in the open door of his truck while on a break, in France.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

A couple sit at a sidwalk cafe near the Eiffel Tower and read with their Coca-Cola in front of them.

IMAGE: MARK KAUFFMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

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