Ho! Ho! Ho!…….Oh!
So here’s the bombshell, Santa is NOT real (Breaking news; Don’t tell the kids). He was created along with every other thing he has been associated with – the flying reindeer, the north pole, ..name it.
But we aren’t far from the truth when we say that Santa has given us all cherishable memories and most importantly, shaped our perception of Christmas and its subtle attributes – Red; The color of Christmas, the culture of giving and receiving of gifts.
The jolly Santa Claus that we have come to know and love didn’t always look the way he does now. Coke stated that prior to 1931, Santa had taken many different shapes- from a tall lean man to an elf. The color of his coat also was different at some point – (think “tan”).
As far back as the 1920s, The coca-cola brand began featuring Santa in its ads, but this Santa was strict-looking. When Coke decided to begin placing Coca-Cola ads in popular magazines, they knew certainly that the “strict-man” had to be replaced by a warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human Santa. Around 1931, Haddon Sundblom, an illustrator was commissioned to effect this change. Although various artists had worked on the image in the past – and it was not actually Sundblom that first changed Santa’s coat to red- Sundblom’s work stood out as it gave a new face to Santa. The original oil paintings Sundblom created were adapted for Coca-Cola advertising in magazines and on store displays, billboards, posters, and calendars.
By 1931, Sundblom’s Santa debuted in Coke ads and between that time and 1964, the brand had created a new personality around Santa, One that kids around the world had written letters to with the wish that he brought them gifts when he came to their towns. The Coca-Cola advertising showed Santa delivering toys, pausing to read a letter and enjoy a Coke, visiting with the children who stayed up to greet him, and raiding the refrigerators at a number of homes.
The new santa was so impressive that people paid such close attention that when anything changed, they sent letters to The Coca-Cola Company. It wasn’t until 2001 that an animated TV commercial of Santa was created. The Animated Santa brought life to our Jolly Christmas friend, who till date still keeps children around the world looking forward to the Christmas Season.
Can you still remember your fond childhood memories of the Coca-Cola Santa?
We’d love to hear them.