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Royal Crown Cola Advertising and Celebrity Endorsements

July 24th, 2009 · 41 Comments

All Images are the Property of and Copyrighted to Vintage Vending Inc.

RC Cola Vending Chest Cooler

The Royal Crown Company had marketing pros that understood the value of advertising and product promotion. With the help of their marketing agency, BBD&O, Royal Crown Cola experienced incredible growth through the 1940s.

Starting in 1939, RC Cola became the sponsor for the CBS radio program “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” with Robert Ripley. The show was broadcast every Friday evening and both the program and the RC Cola commercials were heard from coast to coast.

Another major component of RC Cola advertising was their print advertising. Starting in 1940 they had color inserts placed into magazines such as “The Saturday Evening Post” and “Good Housekeeping”. They also had ads printed in nearly 600 daily newspapers across the U.S.

Vintage Store with Nehi Signs

Beginning in 1946 they used celebrity likenesses as well as endorsements. The advertisements featured famous movie stars like Lucille Ball, Loretta Young and Joan Crawford. Other stars in their ads were Lauren Bacall, Gary Cooper, Shirley Temple, Bob Hope, Gene Tierney, Barbara Stanwyck, Bing Crosby and Jerry Lewis. 1947 RC Cola ads featured the glamorous Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr. A nationwide campaign was begun to promote RC Cola as the best of all available colas, proven in independent taste tests. They started using the slogan, “Best By Taste Test” and the stars appeared in their ads declaring, “RC tastes best!” Unlike RC’s main soft drink competition, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the people at Royal Crown liked the idea of linking their cola to movie stars.

Lucille Ball Display Window RC Cola

Other forms of advertising were billboards, point-of-purchase displays, metal signs, no-drip paper bottle protectors and bottle openers. Nancy Sinatra did two RC Cola commercials during her one-hour television special, “Movin’ with Nancy”, in 1967. In the mid-1970s Kelly Moran, sister of Erin Moran, was in an RC Cola commercial riding a skateboard while delivering pizza. This was part of the RC Cola ad series titled “Me and My RC”.

The Royal Crown Cola Company commemorated its 100th Anniversary in 2005. They are now owned by Cadbury Schweppes and continue to be very successful all over the world.

Par-T-Pak Royal Crown Cola

Dance with RC Cola

Celebrity Royal Crown Signs

RC Sign with Lucille Ball

Royal Crown Bottlers

RC Cola in Grocery Store

Nehi and RC Cooler

Tags: Antique Advertising · Manufacturer Histories

41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Neil // Sep 12, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I HAVE SEVERAL EMPTY CANS OF VARIOUS ERAS BACK TO ‘50′S. LOTS OF SHELF TALKERS. FOR R C & NEHI . GLASS BOTTLES & WOODEN CASE, SEVERAL METAL SIGNS. I WORKED AND MANAGED FOR RC IN THE ‘80′S. IT SURE IS A SHAME HOW THE NEW OWNERS HAVE LET THE MARKET SHARE SLIP.

  • 2 horacio aleman // Oct 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    is there a way i can get some of those old pictures of rc cola.

  • 3 mike newton // Oct 11, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for displaying your vintage ads and information. I have a full size ad of Virginia Mayo drinking R.C. Cola vintage 1947. It shows off her figure in a two piece sunsuit and promotes her movie, “Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” I have also seen one of cowboy star Wild Bill Elliott in her Red Ryder costume. A movie poster dealer-friend of mine sells R C Cola and Moon Pies at the conventions he attends, just as they did in the theaters years ago. Thanks again for sharing.

  • 4 kyle // Dec 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I have one of these old royal crown machines.
    how much would one of these machines run for?

  • 5 vintagevending // Dec 22, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Kyle,

    We can’t give estimates on the value of machines as we are no longer in the restoration business. You can try ebay or Craig’s List, sometimes they pop up there. Also, fun-tronicsllc.com is a good resource, they might be able to help.

  • 6 kyle // Dec 24, 2009 at 1:15 am

    thank you

  • 7 Adam // Jan 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Nice pictures! They remind me that I have an RC Cola 3D filmstrip that was used by salesman to demonstrate RC’s new “electric” cooler. I am going to guess it is from the 1930’s.

  • 8 Tammy // Jan 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I am restoring a Royal Crown Cola Cooler and am not sure what color yellow to use. I have looked online and cannot find it anywhere. HELP!

  • 9 vintagevending // Jan 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Tammy,

    Try contacting the manufacturer. They’ll probably be able to help you out.

  • 10 jim gay // Apr 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I have a old RC can would like to know how old it is . It is the type that has to be opened with a triangle shape opener does not have a tab

  • 11 vintagevending // Apr 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Jim,

    According to my research, pull tab tops were invented in 1963, so the can has to be older than that.

  • 12 elliott // Jul 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    hello i’m trying to find out the make of a chest type royal crown vending machine.it looks a lot like the kelvinator 180 but is about 7 to 8 feet in length. The front has drink royal crown on the left front and right front and says something about nehi on each end. It’s yellow in color and the lettering is in red. The top is chrome with sliding doors. Please help

  • 13 Rex Vance // Aug 11, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Have a cooler like but I need parts where can I get them?

  • 14 tootallswife // Aug 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I have a approx. 5 1/2″ tall drinking glass – blue band around middle, white circle with “Royal Crown (c) Cola in blue and large stylized RC in red. Does anyone know how old it is and what it’s worth, if anything?

  • 15 scott // Sep 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I’m looking for a 16mm copy of the Skateboarding Pizza delivery girl commercial.. Can anyone help me? starrphoto@barfoot.com

  • 16 Martha Ore // Oct 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Have a clear bottle with raised letters saying”ROYAL CROWN BEVERAGES” and a picture of a crown. Any idea when it was used or where I may get info on it?

  • 17 Randy Sweat // Nov 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Does anyone have a picture of a 1940 through 1948 RC COLA ROUTE TRUCK that you could email me .

  • 18 SAINA SERGE // Nov 28, 2010 at 2:44 am

    I have +/-120 bottles of royal crown (190cl). They are hurdy-gurdies but undamaged. They are filled. The capsule is made rusty. I can send you photos. I am in Belgium, Europe.

  • 19 Dan Hereford // Jan 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I have a 1940 Royal Crown Cola advertising mirror. It was used in their 1940 “Best By Taste Test” advertising campaign. If interested it’s posted here along with a little history about it:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Pre-WWII-RC-Cola-Advertising-Mirror-/330514370667?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf431106b

    Thanks.

  • 20 JANE DENSON // Jan 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

    My family owned a RC Cola bottling plant and I have several RC, Nehi, Upper 10, Kick and Diet Rite items that I would like to get appraised. Is there a website that carries items that would give me an idea of their worth?

  • 21 david jollimore // Apr 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    i have purchased , a lucille ball sign, for royal crown cola, is there anyway i can find the worth ,if its original. on the back i love lucy is a reg. t.m. of cbs ,licensing by unforgettable licensing, made in medina, oh . made in the usa. it has numbers on it. 1031646 , 656882 , 77936. u.s. trade marks from royal crown co.inc. if so let me know ill pay for research, thank u fr your time

  • 22 Dan // Apr 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I have a RC Cola plastic advertising bottle circa 1960’s about 23″ tall by 6″ wide. Haven’t been able to find one anywhere else. Any idea’s on value or origin.

  • 23 Jay // May 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I found a red wagon like the ones kids pull around and can ride in that has “Royal Crown Cola” on the side. Has anyone seen one and when were they produced.

    Thanks for any info,
    Jay

  • 24 Joan Reed // Jul 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I have an RC thermometer approximately 3 ft high by 8 to 10 inches wide. It has a little rust but is otherwise in good shape

  • 25 Joan Reed // Jul 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    For sale–RC Cola sign thermometer, Good shape except for a little rust

  • 26 Buddy Hendrick // Sep 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I have numerous signs from early 1950’s/ 60’s. If interested drop me an e-mail. buddy.hendrick@yahoo.com

  • 27 David Cope // Oct 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I have one of the exact same drink coolers that is in several of these photos. It needs restoring but I am wondering what the value of it would be like it sits

  • 28 Brandon Smith // Nov 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I have a 1946 poster of Lizabeth Scott endrossing her movie “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” and RC Cola and was wondering if anyone could tell me where i can find prices I alson have a Poster of Lucy Ball for her movie ” the Dark Corner” also promoteing Rc Cola please help

  • 29 george hammons // Dec 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    i wouldlikeomene to email me a pitcher of the 1945 to 1949 royal crown deliver truck

  • 30 Ken Miller // Dec 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I have a 8 foot wooden bench from my Grandfathers country store out of southwest Virginia. It advertises Royal Crown Cola on the back. “Best By Taste Test” slogan. Cannot find another one on the internet like it. I’m sure it is over 59 years old as I have a picture from that time with it in it . Anyone know anything about this bench…where and when manufactured, etc. ?????

  • 31 Christy // Jan 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I have a Red Royal Crown Cooler in excellent condition. Would you know the history or value of it?

  • 32 george hammons // Jan 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    i would like a pitcher of a 1948 Rc truck or a pitcher of a 1948 drpepper truck email to me

  • 33 Jim Waugh // Jan 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I am interested in buying 1940s and 1950s RC Cola signs,thermometers,etc + other signs you may have. Email me at cw57@bellsouth.net and let me know what you want for the signs.

  • 34 tommyboy1946 // Jan 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I have a vintage Nehi bottle opener that I can’t locate on any website. It has a very different shape, not like any I have seen. Where can I search?

  • 35 wendy // Aug 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I have a 1970’s Me and my RC stand or shelf about 4 foot tall. Original paint and needs some restoration on the base but art on top in good condition. Any idea what it would be worth?

  • 36 Sally // Oct 29, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I won a contest for royal crown cola 1967 or 68. I was featured on a poster . I never received one and would love to get a copy. Contest was at Barkers Dept. store in Meriden Ct. Can anyone help me with obtaining info?

  • 37 MIAMIBEACHCG // Nov 23, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I have a question that may help others besides myself – I bought some RC & NEHI heavy paper advertising signs at an auction; including a TC coloa bottle shaped sign, a NEHI Wuality Beverages that has a picture of a bottle od NEHI & a pair of a lady’s legs,+ a Shirley Temple fan advertising RC Cola and her movie “I’ll Be Seeing You” with Ginger Rodgers.
    How do you tell if they are original and not a knock off?
    Thank you!

  • 38 Mitzi // Mar 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I have a yellow chest cooler like the one in the pictures here. It has the fold top. Was still being used in a country store that had been owned by 3 generations in the 1980’s. It’s in average shape. Can anyone give me a general idea of its value? May be interested in selling. Please email me and reference the cooler, get too many junk emails that I don’t open everything. goinsm@realtracs.com

  • 39 Ken // Jul 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I have a 3 ft tall x 7 ft wide metal sign I would like to know more about. It is red with yellow writing. Drink Royal Crown Cola, best by taste- test. In the bottom left corner, very small it has Robertson 9-54 and in the middle bottom the number 602. Is that for the maker of the sign in 1954, and possibly sign number 602?

  • 40 高品質 ミュール 注目 // Dec 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm

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  • 41 Pat Isbell // Jan 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I would like know which magazines from the 1940s-early 1950s that had RC ads with movie stars? Thanks for any info!

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All Images are the Property of and Copyrighted to Vintage Vending Inc.