With their festive red branding and skillful advertising, Coca-Cola has distinguished itself as a natural part of the holiday season. Whether incorporating jolly old St. Nick or their signature polar bears, its advertisements capture the warmth and whimsy of Christmas.

Source: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola and Santa

Coca-Cola has played an influential role in shaping the image of Santa Claus as we know him. Previously, Santa had come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes he was short and elf-life, other times he was depicted as tall and slender. Even the familiar Christmas red could be absent, with Santa’s robes sometimes appearing as a drab brown.

In 1931, illustrator Haddon Sundblom was commissioned to create advertisements for Coke. Appearing in ads in The Saturday Evening Post, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and others, Sundblom’s depictions cemented Santa’s image as the jolly, rotund character we now know and love.

Coke polar bear

French Coca-Cola poster c. 1922 (Source: Coca-Cola)

The Coke polar bears

Polar bears have been used in Coke advertisements since 1922, but the polar bear-Coke association really took off in 1993, when a Coke advertisement featured polar bears drinking coke and watching the northern lights like a movie.

Coke’s 2019 Christmas marketing

Coca-Cola is taking the Christmas polar bears to another level this holiday season with an augmented reality experience. With codes on specially-marked bottles of Coke, smartphone users can be immersed in the polar bears’ arctic home.

Different packages show different AR experiences of various polar bear activities, including sledding, a snowball fight, and a light show. Six-packs of glass bottles will feature Coke’s famous Santa, and scanning two cans togethers will unlock another environment to explore as well. Coke has also introduced a limited-time cinnamon-flavored Coca-Cola for the season.

Oana Vlad, brand director, Coca-Cola Trademark, states:

Coca-Cola and the holidays have been inseparable for decades. This is the season when loved ones come together and take a relaxing pause. We are honored to be a part of holiday traditions, inviting fans to smile and delight in a little magic, whether through our family of Polar Bears or through a delicious Coca-Cola Cinnamon.