The Shmooze

Fanta’s Nazi Roots

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

For those besotted by the Fantanas — the synthetic girl group pitching Fanta soft drinks — news August 5 that the sugary sodas have Nazi origins left a sour aftertaste. In an otherwise innocuous dispatch about Fanta’s popularity overseas, the online magazine Slate slipped in the factoid that “the original Fanta was a Nazi product” created by a German Coca-Cola Co. executive who “sported a tiny Hitler-style mustache.”

But Slate had actually scooped itself back in 2002, when then-advertising columnist Rob Walker deconstructed Fanta as parent Coca-Cola Co. was preparing to revive the defunct brand. Fanta’s origins, he wrote, lay partly in the unpopularity of foreign-owned firms in Nazi Germany. Both stories relied on the same book to reveal Fanta’s DNA: Mark Pendergrast’s “For God, Country, and Coca-Cola,” was originally published in 1998 and hailed by The Washington Post as “an encyclopedic history of Coke and its subculture.”

Regardless of all the exposure, Fanta’s brand doesn’t seem to have suffered. “In cases where the connection to something awful is in the definitive past, it doesn’t have much impact,” said Walker, now the writer of the New York Times Magazine’s Consumed column and the author of the 2008 book “Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are,” to the Forward via e-mail. “Wasn’t the Volkswagen a Nazi car?”

Nor has guilt by association been a problem for Fanta 70 years later, he said. “I don’t think people are scandalized by that. And I assume that’s because nobody concludes that anyone involved in making or selling Volkswagens or Fanta today are secretly Nazi sympathizers.”

A spokesman for Coca-Cola said the company would decline comment about the Fanta kerfuffle.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Washington Post, Soft Drink, Nazi, Fantana, Fanta, Consumed, Coca-Cola

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.