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  • This is Fanta,

  • one of the most popular soft drinks in the world.

  • It's easily identifiable by its bright colors

  • and bold advertisements,

  • which often feature a group

  • of diverse people dancing to loud, upbeat music.

  • The brand presents itself as multicultural and fun-loving

  • and lures consumers in with the promise

  • of fresh, bold flavors.

  • But would you believe the first bottle of Fanta

  • was made from food scraps?

  • Or that it was invented in Nazi Germany?

  • So, how did we get here...

  • from here?

  • In the book "For God, Country and Coca-Cola,"

  • Mark Pendergrast tells the story of how Fanta came to be.

  • It started in 1923, when Robert Woodruff

  • was elected president of The Coca-Cola Company.

  • He had big dreams of expanding the brand

  • and its global reach.

  • In the years before,

  • Coca-Cola's international production was somewhat reckless.

  • French Coke manufacturers accidentally made consumers sick

  • with unhygienic bottling practices.

  • And international demand for Coca-Cola was relatively low.

  • But under Woodruff's guidance,

  • the company established the Foreign Department,

  • later come to be known as The Coca-Cola Export Corporation.

  • This set up official bottling plants in over 27 countries

  • and allowed Coca-Cola to oversee all of them.

  • While Coca-Cola provided the flavoring,

  • each country provided its own bottling equipment

  • and sugar for its own production.

  • This started a global boom.

  • Coca-Cola sponsored the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam,

  • where people from all over the world

  • became familiar with the Coca-Cola logo,

  • which appeared on everything from hats and bulletins

  • to the walls of the city streets.

  • Coca-Cola quickly became associated

  • with the ideal American life

  • and became known internationally

  • as a patriotic American icon.

  • Coca-Cola expanded throughout Europe,

  • where it eventually reached Germany.

  • An American expatriate named Ray Rivington Powers

  • was put in charge of the German subsidiary.

  • He was a charismatic figure

  • and an excellent salesman

  • who would often promise potential clients

  • that they'd be rich and own villas

  • in Florida for purchasing Coke.

  • Powers skyrocketed sales from 6,000 cases a year

  • to about 100,000 using this tactic.

  • But despite Powers' crafty salesmanship,

  • he didn't care for the details of financial bookkeeping

  • and often left bills unpaid and bank statements unopened.

  • As a result, the German subsidiary was a financial mess,

  • and the accounts were left in serious need of managing.

  • Then, in 1933, Adolf Hitler rose to power

  • and the reign of the Third Reich began,

  • marking a new era for Germany and for Coca-Cola.

  • Enter Max Keith, a German-born man

  • with a domineering air

  • and an unwavering allegiance to Coca-Cola.

  • Often described as imposing and a born leader,

  • Keith was determined to save the subsidiary's accounts.

  • With the German economy booming,

  • he took measures to market the drink

  • to the hardworking people of his country.

  • At the time, this meant

  • reestablishing Coca-Cola's reputation -

  • not as an all-American icon,

  • but as a brand fit for German consumption.

  • Much like the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam,

  • the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin

  • were the perfect marketing opportunity for Coca-Cola.

  • It catered at the games once again.

  • Just like with most brands active in Germany at this time,

  • it appeared beside waving banners emblazoned with swastikas.

  • After this, the Coca-Cola logo

  • was seen at various athletic competitions in Germany

  • and later even on trucks at Hitler Youth rallies.

  • And the ninth annual concessionaire convention

  • ended with a Keith-led pledge to Coca-Cola

  • and a rousing "Sieg heil!" to Hitler.

  • Despite never actually joining the Nazi Party himself,

  • Keith was willing to work with the Third Reich

  • to keep the company afloat, Pendergrast writes.

  • In a statement, Coca-Cola told Business Insider

  • that there is no indication that Keith

  • collaborated with the Third Reich.

  • Woodruff, for his part,

  • maintained close relations with Keith before the war.

  • For both men, the top priority

  • was ensuring the prosperity of Coca-Cola.

  • As the war ramped up, so did economic tensions.

  • The German government began punishing foreign businesses.

  • When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939

  • and declared war on Europe,

  • Keith feared his American-owned business

  • would also be seized by the government.

  • Then the war entered a new stage.

  • With the attack on Pearl Harbor,

  • the United States formally entered World War II

  • and declared Germany an enemy.

  • It used the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1917

  • to enforce a full embargo on the Axis powers.

  • Woodruff and Keith were finally forced to cut ties,

  • and Keith's constant flow of Coca-Cola syrup was halted.

  • Keith was effectively stranded.

  • While other multinational businesses

  • operating in Germany at this time

  • were unable to make products,

  • Keith was determined to still produce something.

  • So he made a tactical decision.

  • He oversaw the creation of an exclusively German soft drink.

  • Keith had chemists concoct a soda

  • that was vaguely similar to Coke,

  • caffeinated and with an unidentifiable blend of tastes.

  • But rather than being made

  • with the secret 7X Coke flavoring,

  • this product was made from the leftovers

  • from other food industries,

  • mostly scraps from produce markets.

  • This was usually fruit pulp,

  • like apple fibers from cider pressing

  • and whey, the liquid byproduct of cheese curdling.

  • The resulting liquid was a translucent beige

  • that more closely resembled today's ginger ale.

  • Keith asked his sales team to explore

  • their fantasies while inventing a name,

  • and the drink was christened...Fanta.

  • The name was a hit.

  • At this time,

  • Fanta was all he had to keep the company afloat.

  • Fortunately for Keith, Fanta was also all Germany had.

  • With few soft-drink alternatives, its popularity exploded.

  • Its prominence allowed it to skirt the sugar rationing,

  • making it the sweetest drink on the market.

  • This made it increasingly popular

  • as an additive in soups and stews.

  • Sales gradually rose as it became a household staple.

  • Keith then used his connections in the Third Reich

  • to gain a position overseeing all Coca-Cola plants

  • in Germany and the territories it conquered.

  • This allowed him to spread Fanta across Europe

  • and save other subsidiaries from shutting down.

  • The German branch sold about 3 million cases

  • of the drink before the war was over.

  • And when the Allies eventually marched on German factories,

  • production of Fanta ceased

  • and Keith handed over the profits of his creation

  • to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta.

  • The version of the drink we know today

  • gradually evolved from its rebrand, Fanta Orange,

  • which was introduced to Italy in 1955.

  • This new beverage was a vibrant orange color

  • and was produced using local citrus ingredients,

  • as opposed to leftover scraps.

  • In this way, Coca-Cola continued

  • to make a profitable product,

  • while distancing itself from the associations

  • it once had with the Third Reich.

  • At least, for the most part.

  • Coca-Cola launched this ad

  • celebrating Fanta's 75th anniversary in 2015.

  • The company faced critical backlash

  • for its apparent reference

  • to World War II-era Germany as the "Good Old Times."

  • As a response, Coca-Cola took the video down

  • and issued a formal apology.

  • When asked for comment, a representative said,

  • "The 75-year-old brand had no association with Hitler

  • or the Nazi Party."

  • Fanta's origin is a tale of what happens

  • when necessity meets moral ambiguity.

  • What was once a concoction of scraps

  • in the Third Reich became a fizzy,

  • brightly colored soda in Italy

  • and is now a drink shared internationally

  • by all types of people.

This is Fanta,

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Why Coca-Cola Invented Fanta In Nazi Germany

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/24
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