“Most people can agree on what Santa Clause looks like – jolly, with a red suit and a white beard. But he did not always look that way, and Coca-Cola advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa.
2006 marked the 75th anniversary of the famous Coca-Cola Santa Clause. Starting in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola featured St. nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit. Because magazines were as widely viewed, and because the image of Santa appeared for more than three decades, the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on our advertising… Before the 1931 introduction of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus created by artist Haddon Sundbiom, the image of Santa ranged from big to small to fat to tall. Santa even appeared as an elf and looked a bit spooky…
The Cocacola Company began its christmas advertising in the 1920s with shopping-related ads in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post… At this time, many people thought of Coca-Cola as a drink only for warm weather. The Coca-Cola Company began a campaign to remind people that coca-Cola was a great choice in any month. This began with the 1922 slogan “Thrist Knows No Season”, and continued with a campaign connecting a true icon of winter – Santa Claus – with the beverage.”
Many of the older brands have rich histories that make them “legendary”, however new and small brands can benefit similarly if they follow the rules of being interesting and authentic. Keep in mind these “legends” were also just a small business, with nothing more than the vision and passion of their founders.
Did Coca Cola really invent Santa Claus? Maybe not but it certainly made him their brand ambassador and part of our popular culture for ever!