This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

5 Ways Business Changed Us for Profit

How we celebrate Christmas
Did Coca-Cola (KO) craft the iconic imagery we use to celebrate Christmas?

Although Sana Claus, in his many forms and names, has existed in times and places unaffected by Coke's marketing muscle, the company has nevertheless played a role in the modern image of St. Nick that is inescapable every winter.

In fact, it is a point of pride for the beverage company.

"Most people can agree on what Santa Claus looks like -- jolly, with a red suit and a white beard," the company boasts on its corporate Web site. "But he did not always look that way, and Coca-Cola advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa."

Starting in 1931, magazine ads for Coca-Cola (which began in the Saturday Evening Post) featured St. Nick as a kind, jolly man in a red suit. That particular image was crafted by artist Haddon Sundblom.

"Because magazines were so widely viewed, and because this image of Santa appeared for more than three decades, the image of Santa most people have today is largely based on our advertising," Coke says. "Through the centuries, Santa Claus has been depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to an elf. He has worn a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. The modern-day Santa Claus is a combination of a number of the stories from a variety of countries."

Coke does give credit where due to Civil War-era cartoonist Thomas Nast, who drew a popular image of Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly back in 1862. In his version, however, Santa (in addition to being a Union supporter) was small and elfin.

So why did Coca-Cola get into the Santa game? The answer is simple: seasonal market share.

The product had always been considered a warm-weather beverage. In 1922, an ad campaign ("Thirst Knows No Season") tried to break it free of calendar-dictated restraints. From there, crafting Santa as a wintertime spokescharacter seemed a savvy move.

A 1930 ad featured a department store Santa gulping down a coke. The following year, ad executives decided that the "real" Santa made a more compelling focus and the new image was crafted, in part, from passages in Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. The imagery has been a Coke tradition ever since, although the company does admit one important detail was not its doing.

"It's a common misconception that Santa wears a red coat because red is the color of Coca-Cola," Coke's history of Santa says. "In fact, Santa appeared in a red coat before Sundblom painted him for Coca-Cola advertising."

There is also this awkward admission: The "Sprite Boy character, who appeared with Santa Claus and was used in Coca-Cola advertising in the 1940s and '50s, was also created by Sundblom. Though The Coca-Cola Company does have a drink called Sprite, the Sprite Boy character was not named for the beverage. Sprite Boy's name came because he is a sprite -- an elf."

Sprite Boy first appeared in ads in 1942, while the drink Sprite was not introduced until the 1960s.

-- Written by Joe Mont in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joe Mont.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/josephmont.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

RELATED STORIES:







Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

6 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs