Advertising plays a larger role in our life than we can ever imagine. Did you know that the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on Coca-Cola advertising?
Before the profiling by Coca-Cola, Santa's appearances ranged from big, small, tall, fat, elf-like, bishop-like, gaunt, strict, spooky...and he wore everything from animal skin to a tan suit. Except for the color of his suit, the jolly old man owes much of his persona to the beverage giant.The traditional red coat has more to do with the imagination of Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast than with any brand color.
Back in the 1920s many people thought of Coca-Cola as a drink meant for warm weather. With the 1922 slogan "Thirst Knows No Season," followed with a campaign connecting Santa Claus with the beverage, the company tried to remind people that Coca-Cola was a great choice in any season. Thus started the association of Claus and Coke.
An Excerpt From the Coca-Cola Website:
"Archie Lee, the D'Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic. In 1931, The Coca-Cola Company commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images using Santa Claus --- showing Santa himself, not a man dressed as Santa. For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (commonly called "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"). Moore's description of St. Nick led to an image of Santa that was warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human. For the next 33 years, Sundblom painted portraits of Santa that helped to create the modern image of Santa ---an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of people of all ages, all over the world."
More recently, as part of the "Open Happiness" campaign Coca-Cola Company is sending three bloggers to 206 countries on Jan 1, 2010 to find out what makes people happy and then blog, tweet, upload videos and generally create a social media buzz around it for one whole year! Consumers will get to vote, suggest and complain as with any social media campaign. - [via psfk]
From redefining an icon to digging deep into the latest trend, the Coca-Cola Company is all about branding and maybe a secret formula or two. Given the composition and benefit of the product in question, that is the way to go!