Coca Cola Signature
Versatile Piece Of Music

"Ice Cold Coca Cola makes any pause…..
the pause that refreshes…..
and Coca Cola is everywhere."

Lincoln, Me. (DG)---

Coca ColaIn modern times, musical jingles have played a key role in the advertising of Coca Cola.  Some of those jingles have become classics in modern advertising.  While music is important in today’s Coca Cola advertising, it was also important for selling Coke on radio during the golden age.

On a Wednesday evening in 1930 (exact date unknown) at 10:30 PM, the radio listeners heard the first broadcast of THE COCA COLA HOUR on NBC’s Red Network.  The program had an unusual combination of sports and music. Graham McNamee and Grantland Rice interviewed famous sports stars of the era, and Leonard W. Joy with his 31-piece string symphony handled the music.  The program also had the rare distinction (by 1930 standards) to air from coast-to-coast.

Joy wrote the theme music for the program.  It didn’t have a specific name, so the music was simply called "The Coca Cola Signature."  In radio terminology, "signature" meant theme song.  It consisted of only a few bars and it never finished.  The music faded out when the program began.  Joy created the signature to serve as the program’s theme music, but little did he know The Coca Cola Signature continued to be heard on radio into the 1950’s.

The Coca Cola Signature served as the theme music on all radio programs sponsored by Coca Cola for the remainder of radio’s golden age.  Not only that, the music also served another purpose--- it was in some cases, Coca Cola’s commercial.

As a breath of fresh air to those radio listeners who hated radio commercials, Coca Cola didn’t have lengthy commercials, excitable announcers, or silly gimmicks.  The commercials were brief, to the point, and presented in a professional manner.  In some commercials, all was heard was The Coca Cola Signature, the opening of a bottle of Coke, and the announcer saying the program was presented by Coca Cola.  That was it.  Although the commercials didn’t have much context, they were effective in convincing the radio listeners to open a bottle of Coke and feel refreshed.

For a piece of music that was designed to open and close THE COCA COLA HOUR, The Coca Cola Signature did its part in selling Coca Cola for over 2 decades.  Its unassuming music provided the inspiration that music sells Coca Cola--- and it has to this very day.