Coca-Cola Wins Inaugural Brand Icon Award From the CLIOs

Soda giant has led marketing innovation for a century

The Coca-Cola Company has won the inaugural Brand Icon Award—a new distinction from the CLIO Awards, the global competition for advertising, design and communications. Pio Schunker, head of integrated marketing communications at Coca-Cola North America, will accept the accolade at the 54th CLIO Awards ceremony at the Museum of Natural History in New York City on May 15.

The Brand Icon Award was created to honor one transcendent brand yearly that has achieved a seemingly permanent status in popular culture, per the CLIOs. (Guggenheim Digital Media owns the awards brand and Adweek.)

"As one of the most beloved, enduring and valuable brands in history, Coca-Cola continues to set the gold standard for out-of-the-box creative thinking. No one is more deserving of this honor," said Nicole Purcell, executive director, CLIO Awards. "From helping shape the modern image of Santa Claus to teaching the world the words to 'I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,' Coca-Cola’s advertising continues to keep its brand extraordinarily fresh while reminding every generation of the joy of the simple things in life."

It's easy to comprehend why Purcell and her team gave Coke the nod. From sponsoring the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam to recently making a handsome investment in the digital music service Spotify, the 127-year-old soda giant has long been an international leader when it comes to innovation. Its decades of marketing genius has become particularly evidenced via social media—Coke has 61.5 million Facebook fans, towering over competitor Pepsi (9.5 million fans) and other major brand names.

"We are extremely humbled that Coca-Cola is the first-ever recipient of the Brand Icon Award," Schunker from Coke said. "We always have believed that creativity lies at the very core of our business and helps drive it forward—something that we share closely with CLIO. We constantly seek new and innovative ways to harness the power of creativity, imagination and passion to drive our business forward and connect with the people who love our brands."

From its unmistakable script logo to iconic polar bears to Mean Joe Greene, Coca-Cola marketers have successfully stitched the brand into the fabric of America as well as countries around the world. It's really not even arguable.

"What truly connects us with our fans and is three simple words—'Coke brings joy'—and this brand ethos is reflected in everything we do," Schunker said. "When we talk about Coca-Cola, everything is filtered through the brand’s core values of happiness, refreshment, optimism, fun, simply moments of pleasure, authenticity, coming together and uplift. Our message and our values are relevant to people who have loved Coke for years and new fans who may enjoy their very first Coke today."