Coca-Cola influence on Santa Claus

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Coca-Cola has played a significant role in shaping the modern image of Santa Claus. The company's advertising campaigns, particularly those starting in the 1930s, have contributed to popularizing the image of Santa as a jolly, plump man in a red suit with a white beard.

Early Depictions of Santa Claus

Before Coca-Cola's involvement, Santa Claus was depicted in various ways, ranging from a tall, gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, and his version included a red coat, which predated Coca-Cola's depiction112.

Coca-Cola's Influence

In 1931, Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to create images of Santa Claus for their Christmas advertising campaign. Sundblom's depiction was based on the 1822 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clark Moore, commonly known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas." These images established Santa as a warm, happy character with human features, including rosy cheeks, a white beard, twinkling eyes, and laughter lines17. Sundblom's Santa debuted in Coke ads in The Saturday Evening Post and appeared regularly in other publications such as Ladies Home Journal, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and more. These ads showed Santa in various scenarios, such as delivering toys, enjoying a Coke, and interacting with children1312.

Lasting Impact

Coca-Cola's Santa became one of the most beloved cultural icons and an anticipated part of holiday tradition. The company's ads have evolved over time, but the core image of Santa Claus that Sundblom created has remained largely unchanged and is still associated with the brand today916.

Modern Campaigns

Coca-Cola continues to feature Santa Claus in its advertising campaigns, including recent initiatives like the "Real Magic at Christmas" campaign and the "The World Needs More Santas" ad, which focus on themes of community, kindness, and togetherness5816.


While Coca-Cola did not invent Santa Claus, their advertising campaigns have had a significant impact on the popular image of Santa that is widely recognized today. The company's use of Santa in its branding has helped cement this image in the public consciousness and associate it with the holiday season1719.
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