Iconic Ads: Coca Cola – The Pause That Refreshes

Coca-Cola’s advertising has always been able to read the public’s mood. Here, Coke sent out a bright, upbeat message at a time when the economy was deteriorating.

America’s economy was on the verge of collapse in the late 1920s. Coca Cola’s President Robert Woodruff was seeking a way to differentiate Coke from rival soft drinks and make it more desirable during a period when people were struggling financially.

People’s lives were becoming more hectic, and Woodruff wanted to encourage them to calm down and enjoy Coke more frequently. He sought to position Coca-Cola as more than just a beverage, but as a joyful getaway from the stresses of everyday life.

Archie Lee, a friend of Woodruff’s and a copywriter at the advertising agency D’Arcy Co. in St. Louis, Missouri, was tasked with coming up with a slogan to represent this. (When D’Arcy first began in 1906, Coca-Cola was their first client.)

“Pause and refresh yourself,” ran the original tagline Lee devised in 1923, with a second line that read, “Our nation is the busiest in the world.” There’s never a dull moment from breakfast to dinner.” Because the tagline was perceived as being excessively harsh, Woodruff and Lee altered it to “The pause that refreshes” in 1929.

In the same year, a Coca-Cola commercial in the Saturday Evening Post included the new phrase for the first time. The ad was then simplified to simply “The Pause that refreshes,” and featured three women at a soda fountain with the text “All think about the pause that refreshes.”

Coca-Cola’s advertising has always been able to read the public’s mood. Here, Coke sent out a bright, upbeat message at a time when the economy was deteriorating. Coca-Cola sales soared after the stock market meltdown just months after “The Pause That Refreshes” was first displayed in their advertising! People had responded well to Coke’s upbeat attitude during a difficult period in American history.

Additional variants of the original “The Pause That Refreshes” slogans were also effective.

1924 Pause and Refresh Yourself

1932 The Drink That Makes the Pause Refreshing

1935 The Pause That Brings Friends Together

1937 Stop For a Pause . . . Go Refreshed

1938 Anytime Is the Right Time To Pause and Refresh

1947 Relax With the Pause That Refreshes

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