Who would have ever guessed that Stonewall Jackson would one day end up hawking Coca-Cola?
This print ad appeared during the early years of WWII. The artwork and part of the text originally appeared in a 1931 campaign, rebooted in June 1943 to tie the nation’s current military activity to a long line of military service—and when servicemen needed a break from their grueling work, they took a pause. Naturally, those pauses involved refreshing bottles of ice-cold Coca-Cola.
How does Jackson tie in? After all, Coke—as Southern as it is—wasn’t issued to Confederate soldiers as part of their rations because it hadn’t been invented yet.
“Stonewall Jackson taught us what the pause that refreshes really means,” the ad says. Ah, yes–of course that’s how he ties in!
It goes on to say, “Stonewall Jackson always got there first. On the march he gave his men rations of sugar and at intervals required them to lie down for a short rest. Thus he marched troops farther and faster than any other general in the field. Since his day all marching troops have been given a short rest period out of every hour.”
Well, he did indeed push his “Foot Cavalry” to unheard of achievements in marching, although the ad neglects to mention the many stragglers who fell out because of exhaustion. Details, details….
I actually love this ad and have a copy of it hanging on the wall in my study. The last I knew, the original painting still hangs in the corporate board room at Coke’s world headquarters in Atlanta.
It’s just one more of those great examples of the Civil War being co-opted in the most unexpected of ways.
(To see the 1931 version of the ad, check out the inside front cover of the September 1931 issue of Boy’s Life.)