As fans of Lilt lament the demise of their favourite drink with it being rebranded due to ‘cultural sensitivities’, changing the name to Fanta might have also raised some uncomfortable issues, due to the Nazi origins of its name.
In the 1920s, Coca Cola executives want to expand the brand worldwide to cash in on its growing popularity. The soft drink was created as a medicinal tonic for the treatment of a range of conditions, but soon it was marketed to ordinary consumers.
The soft drink grew incredibly popular in Weimar Germany and imports continued in 1933 when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor.
However, as soon as Hitler began to lead Germany towards dictatorship and war, the German branch of Coca Cola was finding it increasingly difficult to source the syrup used in its manufacture.
A trade embargo was launched in September 1939 following Hitler’s Blitzkrieg attack on Poland. This had followed multiple breaches of the Treaty of Versailles where Hitler took advantage of allied appeasement.
German industrialist Max Keith, pictured, was responsible for creating the Fanta brand in the 1940s after sanctions caused by WWII prevented his firm from importing the ingredients from the United States
He developed the brand Fanta as a replacement for Coca Cola during the Second World War for the German market
Germany’s head of Coca-Cola, Max Keith, was desperate as he was running low on supplies resulting from the trade embargo. Also, because of the war, the name Coca-Cola could no longer be used in Germany, so the local subsidiary under Keith created the new brand, Fanta, which is from the German word for fantastic, fantastisch.
So he tasked his company’s chemists to create a new drink using available ingredients to sate Germany’s appetite for fizzy pop.
The scientists faced restrictions in the ingredients they were able to use and had to concentrate upon by-products from the food industry. Instead of the concentrated syrup imported from the United States, they developed a new carbonated drink using left-over apple cores from the cider industry, and whey, which is a by-product from the making of cheese.
The development of Fanta in Nazi Germany even became the subject of academic research.
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In 2020, Sabithulla Khan published a paper on ‘Coca-Cola, Fanta, and the Nazis : lessons in business ethics from the most famous U.S. carbonated drink’.
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In Dr Khan’s paper he outlines the history of the ‘popular drink created by Coca-Cola’ and how it was ‘rooted in Nazi Germany’.
He wrote: ‘The case examines the ethical dilemmas of continuing to brand and promote a drink that has a sinister past, given that it was not only created, but also thrived in Nazi Germany when the US was at war with Germany.
‘The lens of corporate social responsibility is used to examine the business practices of the company in both the past and in the present. The question of rebranding Fanta is relevant as corporate social responsibility is about building a company that is aware of justice and fair play when doing business.’
In 2015, Fanta’s parent company Coca-Cola decided to commission an advertisement to celebrate 75 years of the brand in Germany, describing it as ‘the good old times’.
Unfortunately, the marketing gurus failed to realise that Adolf Hitler was Germany’s leader at the time the company was founded and ignored the horrific human rights abuses perpetrated by his regime.
The clip detailed how Fanta was created by the soda company’s employees, because there were limited supplies available to produce Coke.
Fanta’s original drink was made from crushed apple cores and whey – the watery substance squeezed from milk during the production of cheese
A 2015 advertising campaign by the company had to be pulled after it celebrated the creation of the Fanta brand in Germany in 1940
The advertisement’s voice-over narration said in German ’75 years ago, resources for our beloved Coke in Germany were scarce.
‘Employees at Coca-Cola – rather clever brainiacs – had to think of something and came up with a brilliant idea.
‘From the scarcely available ingredients, such as whey and apple fibers, they simply developed a new drink.’
Later on in the clip, the narrator said ‘This German soda turns 75 years old.’
‘And to celebrate this, we are bringing back the feeling of the “Good Old Times” with the new Fanta Classic.’
Shortly after the advert was broadcast for the first time, the company was inundated with complaints and were forced to pull the advertising campaign.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk