In the 1930s when soft drink giant Coca-Cola decided to celebrate the holiday season in their promotional ads, American artist Haddon Sundblom created an image that still today is considered the definitive appearance of a modern-day Santa Claus.
Coca-Cola was perceived to be a drink for hot summers, but the brand wanted to convey the message that it is a drink for every month of the year. Hence they decided to tie up with Santa Claus and Christmas.
In the 1936 picture, Santa is not wearing his jacket and has his shirt sleeves are rolled up to show red underwear.
This vision of Santa appeared during the Great Depression in the United States, when it was hoped the idea of a simple moment of pleasure and a reminder of happy times were desperately needed.
In 1937 St Nicholas is again wearing his red coat. His gloves are tucked into his belt while he stops to take a drink, and a turkey leg, out of the homeowners’ fridge.
After continuous marketing campaigns of Coca-Cola on Christmas, the brand successfully increased its sales exponentially in winters. Moreover Santa’s red clothes became a synonym for Coca-Cola.
It was possible after these advertisement campaigns that Coca-Cola could change its image from that of a summers’ drink to an all season drink.