Santa's Secret

by Blake Howard    December 17, 2013

Have you ever wondered how Santa got his signature red suit?

Santa_Secret

Did you know prior to the 1930s Kris Kringle didn’t quite look like the Santa we know today? He was portrayed as everything from a tall slender man to a  spooky looking pro North elf (during the Civil War) to a nomad with an assortment of colored clothes. Nowhere to be found was the rosy-cheeked, white-bearded man in a red suit with a gold buckle that we’ve all come to love. That’s because the modern day Santa Claus we know and love was invented as a brilliant branding & advertising strategy by The Coca-Cola Company.

Santa_Commerce
In 1931, Coca-Cola enlisted the help of illustrator Haddon Sunblom and ad man Archie Lee to develop the modern day Santa. Their depiction was of a warm, friendly, human, with a pleasantly plump character (incredibly ironic). He just so happened to be sporting the signature Coca-Cola red in his get-up.

The popularity of the Coca-Cola ads for nearly a century have standardized the way we think of jolly ole’ Saint Nick. Shocking, I know. Conspiracy theorist everywhere can rejoice. More than conspiracies, this is the pinnacle of what’s possible when a brand owns a single color.

Could Pepsi have dreamt such a brilliant idea? Maybe Santa could have been half blue and the other half red, like a Garth Brooks album.

Brands are evolving like never before and breaking new ground as they go, but one thing still rings true: own a signature color. It’s better than a Nintendo 64 on Christmas morning.

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