Many companies used the magic of Hollywood as an advertising tool during the 1930s, and one of them was Coca-Cola. The above is a 1934 ad tying Coke with Ernst Lubitsch's latest film, "The Merry Widow."
Lubitsch was certainly among the most recognized directors in the industry, but as one might expect, most of Coca-Cola's movie-related advertising used film stars to sell the product, such as Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald above. Or take this one, for example, featuring Fredric March and Claudette Colbert:
If you've read biographies of Carole Lombard, you know she was an enthusiastic Coca-Cola drinker too, and while filming she often bought cases of the drink for herself and the crew. So it should come as no surprise that Lombard apparently appeared in an ad for the product. I use the qualifier "apparently" because I personally have never seen a Coca-Cola advertisement featuring Carole -- and I've kept watch for Lombard items for quite a few years. But one may have indeed been made, and proof can be found at eBay.
There's a photo on hand showing Lombard in a dark swimsuit, raising a glass of Coke along with an unidentified male. I can't precisely pin down a date for this, but judging from her hairstyle and shade, it was probably taken between 1933 and 1935.
Note the photo has some cropping and marking notations, including the words "color & enlarge" in the lower left-hand corner. One presumes that if this was used in an advertisement, color was added to the image (it wouldn't be until later in the 1930s that full-fledged color photography was perfected, and it wouldn't surprise me if the March-Colbert ad above was artifically colored):
The seller of this item describes it as "rare," and I would certainly have to agree. It can be found at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250410812611&indexURL=0&photoDisplayType=2#ebayphotohosting. The minimum bid is $14.95 (no bids have been placed as of this writing), and bidding closes at 8:06 p.m. (Eastern) next Monday.
Now excuse me while I go get a soda out of the refrigerator. (Oh, and if any of you know of a Lombard Coca-Cola ad, please provide us with the image, or at least a link.)