Now that Christmas is right around the corner, children everywhere are starting to think about Santa Claus. Did you know the jolly fat man in the red suite is actually part of a nearly 100 year old marketing campaign?
That’s right! Coca-cola can take credit for that one. The name ‘Santa Claus’ and the story of Saint Nicholas have their origins in genuine Christian history combined with local folklore around the world, but the actual picture we all imagine of Santa, well he was mass produced in the 1930s by Coca Cola.
Contrary to some popular belief, Coca Cola was not the first company to use an image of Santa, nor can they be credited with choosing the colors of his outfit (although it was perfect for him to be wearing red and white), but they were the ones who mass produced it in the first half of the 20th century. Overall, the development of the modern Santa figure can be described as a slow evolution until we arrived at the one we have now. There is some evidence that he appeared quite similar to his modern look as early as the turn of the 20th century, but in the age before modern TV, much less internet, it took the mass production of Coca-Cola to cement this perception into the minds of consumers. To this day, the image of Santa drinking a coke is a frequent sight, and the image of Santa all those children are imagining is the one used by the company.
What branding power.