Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or St. Nicholas, is the most iconic symbol of Christmas.
When you see Santa in whatever context it may be, you may think a myriad of things like; winter, presents, Christmas, snow… Throughout the winter months (lets face it, right after Thanksgiving) you will find jolly St. Nick on almost everything in stores, from Christmas cards to cereal. Ever wonder where that jolly man came from and why he is so predominated in marketing content through the holidays?
The story of Santa is exciting and for marketers a brand, the history of Santa Claus is full of imagery, colors, and messages of joy, giving, and laughter… basically a storyteller’s dream brand.
The story of Santa Claus
For children around the world it’s a matter of fact statement that Santa Claus along with Mrs. Claus, the elves and the reindeers live at the North Pole and he comes through the chimneys and leaves gifts for nice children and coal for naughty children during Christmas night.
Most of the Santa Claus illustrations you see today depict a warm and friendly person from the North Pole. Haddon Sundblom, an American artist, had a strong role to play in the creation of this image. Sundblom had created these illustrations of Santa as commissioned artwork for Coca–Cola.
Let’s face it, we have all seen the Coca-Cola’s Christmas ads, and yes, they are iconic. Take the recent one from 2020 that shows a father delivering his daughter’s letter to Santa Claus in the North Pole. The campaign ran with the tagline – “This Christmas, give something only you can give”. It featured Santa driving a Coca-Cola truck, with a mischievous glint in his eyes. In 1931, Coca-Cola’s campaign titled “My hat’s off” was the first one to ever feature Santa Claus in the brand’s ads. This was a design by Haddon Sundblom.
Santa starred in many brands throughout the years including