A web archiving case study on preserving one of the most valuable and recognizable brands in the world.

Full Case Study

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the most valuable and recognizable brands in the world. For more than 100 years, its iconic campaigns have created an emotional connection to the brand using physical assets.

Ted Ryan manages the Coca-Cola Archives collections and exhibits; the company has curated, catalogued, and preserved “everything from original oil paintings by noted artists like Norman Rockwell, classic vending machines, reels of film with commercials and even a 1939 delivery truck.”

As the brand has evolved an online presence, so must the archive. In his article “1s and 0s”, Ted Ryan describes why and how Coca-Cola’s current web archiving policy developed.

The Challenge

All corporate websites and social media content are vulnerable to bit rot and digital obscurity unless they are properly archived in native format. As an archivist, Ryan has a keen understanding of the importance of archiving Coca-Cola’s digital assets for the brand’s future.

All that remains of The Coca-Cola Company's first website.

Ryan also knows the care and attention to detail that must be given to the curation of these digital assets. The challenge Ryan faces is the same as that of other brand archivists: finding and implementing the right technology to capture, preserve, and protect Coca-Cola’s digital assets in their original context—just as physical artifacts have been preserved for thousands of years.

The Discovery

With web and social media archiving still considered an emergent technology, and given the inherent mutability of the web, many brand owners think it impossible to capture their digital assets before they’re lost. As Ryan points out in his article, “I always say that my greatest fear and challenge as an Archivist is to capture and preserve born digital files and websites in particular. . . You might wonder why this is important, the web changes every day and in some ways it is like trying to capture a wave on the ocean.”

This is one of the reasons Hanzo Archives developed and launched its web archiving solutions for legal and corporate use.

At the beginning of his quest, Ryan was able to view archived versions of Coca-Cola websites in the Wayback Machine. Although the capture and preservation was happening, he had no control over what was captured, how much content was captured, or the quality of capture. Rather than Coca-Cola’s needs, the capture reflected the Internet Archive’s goal—to provide broad, noncommercial crawls for general historical preservation and interest. For Coca-Cola, Ryan needed something more customizable and optimized for his needs. This is when he partnered with Hanzo Archives.

The Solution

Ryan selected Hanzo’s web archiving technology to capture and preserve a wide range of Coca-Cola’s websites and social media. A key criterion for his selection of Hanzo was the technology’s ability to crawl, capture, and preserve all the website and social media content Ryan specifies. Those specifications are documented and maintained in an Archive Policy agreed upon by Coca-Cola and Hanzo Archives.


Today, The Coca-Cola Company’s corporate archive is highly regarded by corporate archivists, and the company’s online preservation policy is drawing the attention of those concerned with eDiscovery and information governance as well. In a blog post from SoMeLaw Thoughts, “5 Lessons Social Media Practitioners Can Learn From The Coca-Cola Archives”, Ryan Garcia describes the experience of visiting Coca-Cola’s archives with a group of social media attorneys. It’s a fascinating read in which the author explains how social media marketers can look to Coca-Cola’s archival process to create success in their media campaigns.

This blog post also points out very simple approaches to mapping how the archival process relates to every part of a business. That process begins with the identification of unique brand attributes and what supports them commercially and ends with getting buy-in from all internal stakeholders—from marketing to legal.

From the perspective outlined in this paper, it’s clear web archiving is essential to preserve and protect your brand in the digital space. This applies not only to preserving cultural heritage, but to meeting legal and information governance requirements as well.

Next Step

To learn more about native-format web archiving and the optimal approach to the preservation of your online corporate heritage, and for more information on The Coca-Cola Company case study:

Heritage Whitepaper