O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
"America the Beautiful" is a song all school-aged kids in the U.S. learn and hold close to their heart throughout their lives. The lyrics evoke powerful images that embody America’s national parks.
Those national parks are being celebrated in 2016 as the National Park Service embarks on its 100th year. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service, and since those early days, the women and men wearing the green and gray have preserved this country's beauty, history and culture for all to enjoy.
Coca-Cola has proudly been a part of that work for more than 80 years. The company's partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service, dates back to the early 1930s and continues today through the #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque movement.
“We share a long-standing partnership with our national parks dating back to the 1930s," explains Becki Cedrone, community marketing manager,Coca-Cola North America. "The Find Your Park/EncuentraTuParque movement has allowed us to continue that partnership, while celebrating the national park centennial. We're honored to be a partner of the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation."
National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth points to the importance of the continued partnership with Coca-Cola. “Our innovative partnerships for the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement are a testament to the incredible power of private support for national parks," he said. "Together with partners like TheCoca-Cola Company, we are able to capture people’s attention from all over the country and invite them to connect with parks in the ways that are relevant to them and engage them in these great places. Whether it be exploring a new trail, walking in the footsteps of our ancestors, or seeing a rare artifact up close, our partners help us raise awareness about the incredible experiences that people have in a national park.”
A look through the Coca-Cola archives shows just how strong the partnership has been over the years. In the 1930s, various national parks were used as backdrops for Coca-Cola ad campaigns – because how could anyone resist bears drinkingCoca-Cola? And if bears weren’t your thing, the ads featured plenty of picnics and bathing beauties, too.
We share a long-standing partnership with our national parks dating back to the 1930s.
In the 1960s, Coca-Cola held a large sweepstakes in partnership with the National Park Service encouraging Americans to "See America." This was, at the time, the largest and most successful under-the-cap promotion in history. Consumers could win incredible prizes, such as the "dream" grand prize worth $33,000 that included $20,000 in cash, a Thunderbird convertible, a Ford station wagon, boat, motor and trailer, camping and fishing equipment, water skis, movie and still cameras – and a $1,000 credit with a fuel company!
Also in the 1960s, in an effort to publicize a new product called Sprite, TheCoca-Cola Company switched up a common bottling practice. Normally, each bottle made had the name of the bottling city printed on the bottom. The decision was made to handle Sprite a little differently, given that it was such a different drink. Instead, according to a company publication from 1966, “Names of 36 of our national parks and monuments appear on bottoms of bottles of Sprite to promote even further use and enjoyment of these federal recreation areas.”
The logic seems a little strange now, but went hand in hand with popular advertising and marketing from that era. Another note regarding the promotion says that having the parks’ names on the bottles will help familiarize Americans with the names of many of these special places.
The company’s connection to the national parks has only solidified over time and includes providing a $1 million bridge loan to jumpstart the planning for the refurbishment of the Statue of Liberty in 1980 and a $5 million donation to help with the refurbishment; donating $1 million at both Yellowstone National Park and Gettysburg National Military Park to build new Visitor and Education Centers; and providing millions to support the National Park Foundation’s Active Trails program, which has created, restored or expanded nearly 400 miles of trails within our national parks. In addition, Coca-Cola provides recycling support at national parks in the United States.
Now, 100 into its mission, the National Park Service has a lot to celebrate. Coca-Colais proud to call the National Park Foundation one of its partners and looks forward to continuing working together to create the strongest second century for America’s national parks.