Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Gods Must Be Crazy Coke bottle turns 100

Some of us who grew up in the 80’s would always remember it as the bottle that brought confusion to Xi’s small community of Basarwa. It is the bottle that inspired a rollercoaster of hilarious events in the South African movie, The Gods Must Be Crazy; Possibly the most commercially successful movie in the history of the country’s film industry. Set here in Botswana, the movie follows the story of a Mosarwa man, Xi, and his family living deep in the Kalahari Desert.

One day the Coca-Cola bottle is thrown out of a plane flying above the desert and falls (unbroken) right beside Xi as he was on one of his hunting trips. He takes it home with him where the community suppose the bottle for a gift from the gods. They put the bottle to use as a crafts tool and a flute among other things.

Because the bottle is so special and there is only one to go around with everyone wanting to keep it for themselves all at once, it soon proves to be a curse for the community.

Following a long discussion on what steps to take regarding the Coca-Cola bottle the elders agree to get rid of it. After a few failed attempts to get rid of the bottle Xi agrees to bare the responsibility of taking the bottle to the ‘edge of the world’. He embarks on a pilgrimage that sets off a hilarious combination of events.

But the story of the Coca-Cola bottle began some 65 years before the movie was released.

Born in November 16, 1915, the Coca-Cola contour bottle was the creation of Root Glass Company in Terre Haute, Indiana (US). With its curves and distinctive contour the bottle has become as popular as the soda itself.

It has inspired a century’s worth of signature moments in film (like The Gods Must Be Crazy), social history, design and fine arts.

“The Coca-Cola bottle is the ultimate blend of form and function. The beautiful, contoured, fluid curves of the Coca-Cola glass bottle are the same today as they were in 1915. That is simply incredible. This centennial celebration allows us to share the specialness of an ice-cold Coca-Cola with consumers across the country and it remains an important asset for our business today.” said Moitshepi Sefako, Operations Marketing Manager (The Coca-Cola Company Botswana).

To mark the bottle’s centenary, the company recently launched a consumer promotion that would run from the 1st of June until end of August 2015. Coke consumers are to collect six yellow closures from their favourite drink to enter the promotion and stand a chance to win P500 000 in cash prizes, airtime and shopping vouchers in the lead up to the 16th of November.

“Throughout the year the Company will also engage in activations designed to inspire consumers to share and experience happiness across the country through music and ‘instantly captured’ special moments; teens will also have the opportunity to take selfies with some interesting ‘larger than life’ contour props during these activations,” says a statement from the company.

The Coca-Cola bottle’s legacy will be explored through film via a unique television digital film that will be aired across the country in 2015. The spot called ‘The Happiest Bottle’ from Ogilvy & Mather Paris tells the epic tale of the creation of the Coca-Cola bottle, as narrated by a big brother to his younger sibling. The bottle travels through distant lands and curious settings, captivating the boy’s imagination. It is through this journey that the bottle obtains its unique features – its iconic curves, its flutes and red ribbon – and gets filled with icy-cold Coca-Cola as it ends its ride back in the hands of the refreshed older brother.

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