Did Coca-Cola endorse the Carioca Cooler?

Did Coca-Cola endorse the Carioca Cooler?

Walter just called from Savannah GA, where he is on a mixed work-pleasure trip with Tanya, to discuss the latest Walter Ruby developments. I read to him the following expanded version of the snippet published in the previous post, which I had since managed to piece together from multiple searches in Google Books.

You will note an interesting article in connection with the first Fall meeting of the IBA, which meeting was addressed by a well-known wine and liquor authority, Mr. G. Selmer Fougner. This article leaves no doubt that the Carioca Rum Company is very closely associated with the Coca Cola Company in the promotion of a drink known as the Carioca Cooler. The presence of Mr. Homer Thompson of the New York Coca-Cola Bottling Company, at this meeting, is further indicative of the association.

Naturally, the writer is at quite a loss to understand your statement to him at the time of our meeting several months ago, at which you stated definitely that the Coca-Cola Company had no association whatsoever with the Carioca Rum Company and, as a matter of fact, had secured an injunction against these people for the use of the Coca-Cola name and facsimile of the bottle in their advertising."

Appellee's attorneys, in replying to said letter, denied the association with the Carioca Rum Co. referred to in the letter, but attention is called to it here for the reason that, if appellant's selling agent believed that appellee was interested in a beverage containing rum, it is altogether likely that purchasers of appellant's goods bearing the mark ...

Walter's immediate response: "That's what got him fired." I hadn't gotten there yet, but it sure sounds right. Consider the timeline. Walter is managing the Carioca advertising campaign for American Spirits in 1935-6, using an apparent tie-in with the Coca-Cola company. In addition to the cocktail labels published previously, above is the front and back of a miniature Carioca bottle that is available for sale on an Internet auction site. Not only is Coca-Cola's name and logo prominently used, the Carioca Cooler's own branding mimics the Coca-Cola typography. Then Walter abruptly leaves the company for unknown reasons. This very interesting snippet from the publication Printers Ink in 1937 shows the company reassigning its advertising account, presumably after Walter's departure.

Then we have the expanded snippet cited above, which appears to come in a legal filing in an 1940 appellate court case involving Coca-Cola's relationship with American Spirits and the Carioca Cooler. It is unclear who is the appellant and appellee. As Walter the younger speculates, our early-day Don Draper of a grandfather didn't have authorization from Coca-Cola for his hot new marketing idea but went ahead with it anyway. Then the beverage giant sues or brings the hammer down in some other way on American Spirits, Inc. and Walter Ruby is forced out of the company as a result.

For those who didn't get the reference, Don Draper is the lead character in the television series Mad Men about a self-made man in the advertising business in New York the 1960s. Walter Ruby is a self-made man in the advertising business in New York in the 1930s. By the way, the G. Selmer Fougner mentioned above was a prominent food and wine writer who had a daily column in the New York Sun, the first of the breed of foodie journalists so prevalent today.

When you think of the characters like Fougner and songwriter Harry Ruby with whom our Walter crossed paths, it does seem like an episode of Mad Men.