Updated December 24th, 2023 at 16:20 IST

The Santa Claus and Coca Cola connect

In 1930, artist Fred Mizen painted a department-store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke.

Reported by: Business Desk
The Santa Claus and Coca-Cola connect | Image:Coca-Cola
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The Coca‑Cola Company began its Christmas advertising in the 1920s with shopping-related advertisements in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post. The first Santa ads used a strict-looking Claus, in the vein of Thomas Nast.

In 1930, artist Fred Mizen painted a department-store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke. The ad featured the world's largest soda fountain, which was located in the department store Famous Barr Co in St Louis, Mo. Mizen's painting was used in print ads that Christmas season, appearing in The Saturday Evening Post in December 1930.

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In 1931, the company began placing Coca‑Cola ads in popular magazines. Archie Lee, the D'Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca‑Cola Company, wanted the campaign to show a wholesome Santa who was both realistic and symbolic.

So Coca‑Cola 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".

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Moore's description of Saint Nick led to an image of a warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human Santa.

Sundblom created his final version of Santa Claus in 1964, but for several decades to follow, Coca‑Cola advertising featured images of Santa based on Sundblom’s original works.

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These paintings are some of the most prized pieces in the art collection in the company’s archives department and have been on exhibit around the world, in famous locales including the Louvre in Paris.

It is interesting to note that in 1942, Coca‑Cola introduced "Sprite Boy," a character who appeared with Santa Claus in Coca‑Cola advertising throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

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Sprite Boy, who was also created by Sundblom, got his name due to the fact that he was a sprite, or an elf, although it wasn’t until the 1960s that Coca‑Cola introduced the popular beverage- Sprite.

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Published December 24th, 2023 at 16:20 IST