Ghost signs of Minnesota

There is an old Coca-Cola sign in Mankato, Minnesota, which is what’s known as a ghost sign. Ghost signs are signs for products, or in this case price points, that no longer exist. Could you imagine Coca-Cola being five cents? Well, because of a crazy bottling contract with no expiration date and the inability for vending machines to give change, you could get a coke for five cents for almost 70 years.

Due to a perpetual bottling contract, Coca-Cola couldn’t increase the price of its syrup, and so the company initiated an aggressive nationwide marketing campaign, forcing retailers to sell more product for a minimal price – five cents. Coca-Cola sought ways to increase the price, but due to vending machine technology at the time, felt sales might drop if customers required more than one coin to purchase. The company boldly asked the US Treasury Department to mint a 7.5 cent coin – because why not? – which was refused. Ultimately, the price became unsustainable and Coca-Cola had to renew its marketing without the five cent price tag.

The price of a Coca-Cola has risen significantly since this time, however you can still find signs like this around thanks to a preservation act.

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Minnesota, you can book our tours of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, which run every day.

@oneminutetours As I shot this video, I was being filmed by the team at #KEYC – oneminutetours-ception here: @oneminutetours #mankato #minnesota ♬ original sound – One Minute Tours

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