The Schmooze

Fanta’s Nazi Roots

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.”

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Fanta’s Nazi Roots

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