Pop, fountain drinks, flavored water, the possibilities for what it’s been called vary based on region and dialect; but undoubtedly everyone in the United States has heard of soda. An American staple for decades, soda is a large industry. Popular brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are household names. With a recent gift of a collection of vintage soda bottles, we have discovered an advertisement that hits close to home utilizing the wide-spread popularity of the flavored drinks.
In 1966, operation “Golden Eagle” was introduced by the federal government. As part of this promotion of national parks and monuments a family could purchase a “golden permit” for $7 that would allow them to visit any national park as many times as they wanted between April of 1966 and March of 1967. The Coca-Cola Company began an advertising promotion using the iconic green glass Sprite bottle. They produced a line of 7 to 10 ounce Sprite bottles embossed with the names of 36 national parks and monuments, ranging from the Lincoln Memorial to Yellowstone National Park. The Coca-Cola Company thought that by doing this, they not only could encourage visitors to use and enjoy America’s federal recreation areas, but create a unique collectors market. Various bottle manufactures sprang into action and began producing the new bottles. However, for reasons unknown, the promotion fell through. Instead of scrapping the bottles, the Company decided to put them into circulation in an effort to highlight the importance of the National Park system. In the collection recently donated, 5 bottles have the names embossed on the bottom. These include: Mammoth Cave National Park (twice), Sequoia National Park, Big Bend National Park, and one we were very excited to find, Zion National Park. These bottles bring back fond memories and long after their contents are gone, they are still inspiring people to visit our National Parks.
For more about this promotion and a full list of the bottles produced, check out this article from the May 1966 issue of Coca-Cola’s own Refresher Magazine. Sprite National Park Promotion.