The city of Atlanta became internationally famous with the summer Olympic games of 1996. The preparations had an estimated economic impact of at least $5.14 million. During the Olympics more than 2 million visitors came to Atlanta and an estimated 3.5 billion people around the world watched the games on TV.
The capital of Georgia is also becoming more and more famous because of a tax credit the state gives to TV and movie productions. This attracts hundreds of shows, some choosing to set their story in Atlanta. At the end of those productions you will see the peach state logo appearing. Here are some popular titles made in Atlanta: The Walking Dead, Archer, Family Feud, The Avengers, Pitch Perfect, Captain America, The Hunger Games, Devious Maids…
The city is not new to the TV industry. In 1980, Ted Turner launched the first 24h news channel: CNN. The Cable News Network is now a trusted news source broadcasted to more than 190 countries. We went to the headquarters in downtown Atlanta for a tour allowing us to see the news rooms and a couple of stages.
There’s an other international product made in Atlanta: Coca-Cola. In 1886 pharmacist John Pemberton was looking to invent a new product: a medicine to ease pain, a drink that would be neither too crisp, too sweet, too spicy… he finally found the perfect balance of a drink to relieve “exhausted brains and tired bodies”. He named it Coca-Cola (cocaine involved?) and started selling it at soda fountains instead of pharmacies. Soda fountains were like bars, but instead of beers at the taps, it was soda. A glass of Coke was 5 cents. The newbie of the taps quickly became the favorite. In 1888 Pemberton, sick and broke, sold Coca-Cola to Asa Sandler for $550 before dying. Pemberton was the creator, Sandler became the marketer. He created the brand Coke is today and pioneered in advertising and merchandising techniques. He created branded gifts, offered branded merchandise to his buyers, created the first in store signages… The businessman even became mayor of Atlanta!
In 1899, lawyers Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead convinced Candler that putting Coke in bottles would expand the business. Skeptical, Candler sold them the bottling rights for just $1. The lawyers were right, the business boomed! The bottling system born this day is still in place today. Coca-Cola bottlers around the world buy concentrate and mix it with water and sweeteners, they package the drinks and distribute them to retailers. This process is used for all beverages of the Coca-Cola company.
Coke’s biggest marketing success was the bottle. In 1916 the contour bottle appeared on the market and there was nothing like it. The brief to glass manufacturers was “a bottle so distinct that it could be recognized by touch in the dark or when lying broken on the ground”. Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, won with their shape that perfectly fits the brief, plus it’s attractive and fits nicely in the hand.
We ended up spending 4 hours in the Coca-Cola museum, I was fascinated by the branding!
We ended our first day in Atlanta at the Laughing Skull in Midtown. Atlanta is one of the top 3 comedy scenes in the USA. At the back of the Vortex bar, the Laughing Skull is a famous stage for stand-up comedians. The show we saw was great, 10 comedians each given 10 minutes to do their best jokes. Only one of them didn’t make us laugh, we had a blast with the others.
On our second day in Atlanta we went for a morning coffee in the historical and trendy Five Points neighborhood before heading to the Sweet Auburn area. This historic African-American neighborhood is were Martin Luther King Jr was born in 1929 and buried in 1968. We walk past the big house he was born in. With 12 rooms it was a typical middle-class African-American home where all close family lived together. Sweet Auburn was the best area in the US for African-Americans, where many black businesses and prosperous black middle and upper-class emerged from. MLK’s father was a pastor, allowing the family to be financially settled. It also enabled MLK to do doctoral studies in Boston. Listening all his childhood to his father at the church helped him becoming the great orator he was. To learn more about the Civil Rights fight check the “At the Lorraine Motel” Article.
In the afternoon we took a stroll in Oakland cemetery. This city cemetery was created in 1850 and is a big and beautiful green space with many oak trees, hence the name. People even bring chairs and picnic there!
We ended our weekend and visit of Atlanta with a metal gig (Chelsea Grin, Enterprise Earth, Gideon).