At the beginning of the 50s, the father or Cockta, Emerik Zelinka, came up with the recipe for Cockta while working at Slovenijavino. Experimenting with a range of flavours, his recipe included rose hip fruit, pleasantly sour vitamin C, a mix of herbs, pure spring water, and caramel. Cockta’s name comes from “cocktail”, referring to the mix of herbs that make up its signature flavour, and thus was borne Yugoslavia’s first soft drink.
Cockta was first introduced to the public on 8 March 1953 at Planica, where visitors were accompanied at every step by a billboard featuring an attractive girl with a Cockta in her hand. The billboard was the handiwork of the esteemed designer and painter Uroš Vagaja.
Cockta made its world debut in a round, 250ml bottle filled with a bubbly brown liquid, the quintessence of western lifestyle. The bottle, along with its engraving, was crafted by designer Sergej Pavlin.
That year already over a million litres of Cockta were poured, filling 4.5 million bottles.
In its first 14 years, Cockta boasted 25% yearly growth, and in 1967 annual sales were already up to 80 million bottles per year. Cockta was one of Slovenia’s (at that time Yugoslavia’s) best exports, even being shipped to the Netherlands for 2 years. At the end of the 60’s, the first foreign competition hit the market. The trend of buying western products halted demand for Cockta, and sales took a dive.
The Jupi and Cockta ad was launched, targeting parents and children alike. Cockta’s natural ingredients made it a hit among the younger generation as well.
In 1975, Cockta began filling litre-sized bottles, too. To mark the occasion, a campaign was launched to highlight Cockta’s unique recipe, which since Cockta’s emergence on the market in 1953 has remained the same: a mixture of herbs, with no phosphoric acid or caffeine.
At the end of the 70s, Cockta held a regional campaign which cast the drink as a non-alcoholic refreshment which you can enjoy for every occasion.
Cockta had become a family drink by the end of the 70s, an alternative to sparkling water. But in the 80s, as broadcast by the legendary ad to mark the 30th anniversary of its launch in Planica, Cockta became “The Drink of Our Youth”. This campaign kicked sales into high gear, reaching an all-time high of 37 million litres. Cockta also received its first plastic bottle for its 30th birthday.
In 2000, Kolinska purchased rights to the Cockta brand. A whole new image and marketing approach followed. A new logo was also designed, as well as a new label and bottle shape, though it stayed very faithful to the legendary original image – an homage to that image was the slogan “You Never Forget Your First.”
In 2001, Cockta once again came out swinging with a range of new campaigns, including the racy ad You Never Forget Your First, making it even more popular and recognisable among young people.
In 2002, Kolinska advertised its sponsorship of the Slovenian Men’s National Football Team with a Cockta ad featuring Zlatko Zahović and Srečko Katanec.
A fresh new campaign for young people (Soulmates).
Cockta launched the “Good Cockta” ad, with a hefty dose of “craziness”, which spoke directly to young consumers.
In this new campaign, Cockta’s faithful companions were portrayed as fun and easy-going comic strip characters, including a duck, a bottle opener, a giraffe, a cow, etc.
The ads for the No Joke campaign continued Cockta’s creative story from the previous year, employing the same comic characters and jokes on their behalf.
The Cockta family now received a new member: Cockta Lime. The famous original taste of rose hip and caramel never changed, but the freshness of the lime gave Cockta a new layer, which was perfect for refreshment in the heat of summer.
The regional Nevergreen campaign told the story of Cockta and vampires. Talented youngsters from the whole region auditioned for the main roles in the online miniseries Nevergreen, which was then filmed and broadcast online in 10 episodes.
This campaign highlighted both Cockta’s legendariness, as well as its modernity. The ad’s music was a remix of the legendary song “Program tvog kompjutera”, which Cazzafura made especially for Cockta.
2013 was all about Cockta’s 60th anniversary. There was no better way to celebrate such a noble milestone than with the campaign “Made Differently”.
Select bars, restaurants, and stores featured Cockta in its original bottle from 1953.
That year Facebook also highlighted Cockta’s 3D virtual museum, with images of its legendary stickers, bottles, ads, and other trinkets of Cockta lore.
To celebrate its 60th birthday, Cockta came out with a new design: a 0.33l sleeve package, with Cockta’s history illustrated by comic strip artist Matej de Cecco. He depicted Cockta’s inventor doctor Zelinka on the packaging, adding a few other touches from the very first Cockta ads: including a vintage convertible car and a ski jumper.
The legendary brand came out with some one of a kind illustrations. The faces adorning the various Cockta flavours are the work of designer Tina Dužič and illustrator Mojca Krajnc.