It has been one of the hottest weeks of what has been a glorious summer so naturally I’ve been thinking about Christmas.
Among my responsibilities at The Value Engineers is marketing, and that means one of my tasks is helping develop a Christmas card. It is an annual and often thankless task.
So this week, in all the heat, I got to thinking about whether we could use a Christmas brand story as the basis for our card this year
Not too surprisingly, Coca-Cola came to mind. Coke has long been associated with the festive period, and in particular with the depiction of Santa as a jolly, white-bearded, old man dressed in a red and white outfit. Indeed many believe that Coke ‘invented’ this modern day depiction of Father Christmas as a ‘branded’ re-incarnation of earlier green coated figures.
My initial research suggests that there are potentially a number of stories which we might use as the basis for a card and a tale
The first option would be to tell the true story of the origins of the jolly red Santa and reveal that Coca-Cola wasn’t even the first soft drinks brand to use a red and white dressed Santa in their advertising and that particular honour should be given to White Rock Mineral Waters.
The colour ad here for White Rock Ginger Ale comes form the mid 1920s some years before the Coke campaign started
This even earlier ad for White Rock dates back to 1915.
Another candidate would have to be the story of Haddon Sundblom who was the artist who painted the iconic Coke ad of 1931, and went on to do many of the subsequent ones too.
His trials, tribulations and inspirations included his local florist’s dog, a salesman friend, a mirror and his neighbours’ two girls (one of whose appearance he changed to a boy.)
At the moment I think Haddon’s tale – “The poodle, the salesman and the backwards belt” is the leading candidate but luckily there is a little time for some more research and some more thinking.