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Vintage Coca-Cola Metal Trays - Advertising Specialties Celebrating the Sport of Swimming

Updated on March 25, 2016

Coca Cola and Disney both understood the value of developing the user's connection to the "experience". In every advertisement endeavor, both brands showcased their product as enriching the client's life. Both Disney and Coca Cola have shared this trade secret for decades. Interestingly, if we look back at vintage and sometimes even antique metal trays used for advertising specialties, we can see the great love that swimming has played in our American culture.

See firsthand how Coca Cola promoted their brand of cola to new heights of both cultural experience and sales via an advertising specialty item called a metal tray. See the antique and vintage swimsuit and learn how they transcended the favorite sport of swimming to the metal tray and ultimately to their brand of cola.

See for yourself how the swim suits have changed over the decades and yet the love of swimming and the beach front has remained steady. Keep in mind that during each respected era from the 1890s through the 1940s, each outfit displayed was exemplified the height of fashion from the elegant lace dresses and hats from the turn of the century to the modern swim suits of the 1920s and 1930s. These women were beautiful and the clothing they wore symbolized the pinnacle of fashion.

I know, I know, you will laugh at times, that is perfectly acceptable we are laughing together. It is simply fun to remember the "olden days" and be gently reminded how we have processed. Sometimes it is more of a "jolt" than a gentle reminder because it also reminds us that we have aged. Yet through it all, there is a lesson for every business owner, connecting the experience of the product is key to advertising.

Coca Cola Metal Trays

Coca Cola Metal Tray with Blond in Yellow One Piece Swimming Suite
Coca Cola Metal Tray with Blond in Yellow One Piece Swimming Suite
Coca Cola metal tray with blond girl in white swim suit and red swim hat carrying a Coca Cola bottle
Coca Cola metal tray with blond girl in white swim suit and red swim hat carrying a Coca Cola bottle
1937 Coca Cola Metal Tray with Blond Running on a Beach in a One Piece Swim Suit Carrying a Bottle of Coca Cola
1937 Coca Cola Metal Tray with Blond Running on a Beach in a One Piece Swim Suit Carrying a Bottle of Coca Cola
1934 Coca Cola Metal Tray with Brunette Man and Woman both in Swimming Suits
1934 Coca Cola Metal Tray with Brunette Man and Woman both in Swimming Suits
1929 Coca Cola MetalTray with Brunette in One Piece Swimming Suit
1929 Coca Cola MetalTray with Brunette in One Piece Swimming Suit | Source

1920s and 1930s Metal Trays

What is interesting is these metal trays displaying the love of swimming are mainly from the 1920s and 1930s are currently not bringing hefty price tags. Some of the rarest trays from before of the turn of the century are running a high four digits. The difference is the subject matter. The priciest trays depict fancy furs and lace and fit perfectly in the Victorian d├ęcor.

What I love about this collection of "celebrating swimming trays" is of course their swim suit theme but also their consistency. The metal trays throughout the years changed the face of the woman and changed the swim suit but the "experience of the fun in the sun" celebrating the "sport of swimming" is clearly communicated. Note how the red outline and the Coca Cola logo remain consistent. It is the experience married with the distinctive red and white logo that we clearly remember.

Ice Skating Coca Cola Tray

Coca Cola ice skating photo of brunette girl smiling with cola in her hand with the label of Coca Cola showcased and wearing white ice skates
Coca Cola ice skating photo of brunette girl smiling with cola in her hand with the label of Coca Cola showcased and wearing white ice skates | Source

Other Trays - 1914 1907

The trays out on eBay that are bringing thousands of dollars are the Coca Cola trays from before 1914. One of the priciest trays is from 1907 and is offered at a "buy it now" price of $7500! Yes, I have the zeros correct! These items which probably were originally free advertising pieces or what is commonly referred to today as to advertising specialties, freebies design to promote the brand of Coca Cola. Amazingly these items are now valuable antique items and highly sought after.

What do the other Coca Cola trays offer? Interestingly, the other trays also offer a connection to a special and enjoyable experience.

A common theme is a beautiful young girl, a big smile dressed in the fashion of the day typically something elegant with lots of lace and an elaborate hat. Other trays more to my taste more sporting in nature - my all time favorite is the one metal tray where the beautiful blond is donning a pair of ice skates.

Global Coca Cola

Source

Celebration of Grand Experiences - Globally

Coca Cola continues today to expand its brand worldwide. And yet, throughout all the wonderful commercials, songs and videos, one of the most memorable advertising items is the series of metal trays.

While fashion dominated the first set of metal trays in during the turn of the century, next generation of metal trays or advertising specialties the trays from the 1920s and 1930s that celebrate the love of water sports and swimming remains one of the most is be the most enduring and most loved of all branded items.

The irony is while the swim suits are old fashioned, the celebration of swimming remains current and fresh and all of us can readily relate to these beach front themed metal trays.

A beautiful day, a beautiful young man or woman, frolicking on the beach with a cola is something grand experiences are made of and that we all dream about. Swimming, still to this day, close to one hundred years later, continues to a dream to celebrate.

Similar in nature to the universal love of Coca Cola, the celebration of swimming remains timeless.

Perhaps when something is truly grand, it will always be grand.

Is the true test when it is both grand and global? Is this the very existence of touching the human experience?

Coca Cola Metal Tray - Advertising Specialty - Superb Branding

1939 Coca Cola Metal Tray with Brunette in White One Piece Swimming Suit
1939 Coca Cola Metal Tray with Brunette in White One Piece Swimming Suit

Celebrating the Life's Great Experiences Including Swimming Experience

The Coca Cola trays were renown for celebrating the great life experiences of sports from fishing to ice skating to the even the frilly dresses including the famous flapper dresses.

Originally the trays were of beautiful women adorned in the finest clothing including fashionable hats and intricate lace. While the ice skating the fishing trays are completely different and depict sports, the theme overall is identical in celebrating great moments in our lives from sports to swimming to fashion - all showcase our exuberant love of life's precious moments.

The high style of the Victorian era and the beautiful women in Victorian dress lend these specific trays to not just collector value but also high value in decorating a Victorian home.

The high style trays from the late 1800's and the early 1900s would make wonderful accessories to decorate most any room in a Victorian home.

The trays that depict the men and women in swimming suits celebrate sunshine and summer time fun. Many of greatest personal and professional memories stem from the swimming pool and these simple serving trays that depict beautiful young men and women in swimming garb - remind of us these fond memories.

Building a great brand starts of course with a fun product but the advertising that built this legacy brand is advertising that connected us with the product of Coca Cola and our favorite moments in life.

Simple tin trays celebrating life's greatest pleasures - the refreshing Coca Cola alongside the beach or beautiful swimming pool are now highly sought after collector pieces.

Aren't you thirsty now?

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Which metal tray is your personal favorite?

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