How five brands impact on Christmas: Coca Cola

This week at OTB, we’re looking at how five brands market themselves at Christmas time. With the ever growing number of places to shop, consumers are hit with an explosion of Christmas campaigns at this time of year. Each one is aimed to either tug at your heartstrings, save you money or introduce new ways to indulge during the festive season. The five brands we’ve chosen are strong market competitors which have built a reputation through previous successful campaigns. We now not only expect them to produce something both christmassy and unique, but we look forward to it with anticipation.

Our brand choice to kick of the week, is the global brand Coca Cola. Coca Colas advertising has had a huge impact on the way we see Christmas, from the way we now portray Santa, to their iconic TV advertising being considered to signal ‘The Start of Christmas’. (Image:

At the beginning of the season, consumers eagerly await the launch of the Coca Cola advert, ‘The Holidays are Coming’ which causes a wave of excitement amongst adults and children. The advert shows a train of red trucks driving through a winters landscape, each with the Coca Cola name on them and decorated with Christmas lights. This advert then fell into disuse in 2001, as Coca Cola wanted to change their advertising. However after many consumers wrote in to complain saying the adverts marked the start of Christmas, it was brought back in 2007. Other Coca Cola adverts have been released, such as the ‘Shake up the Happiness’ advert produced in 2011, which showed Santa bringing people together in a snow globe.

Coca Cola has also been fundamental in creating Santas character. The painting of Santa produced in 1931 has been very influential in making Santa a jolly, loved character. But contrary to popular belief, he is not dressed in red due to Coca Colas brand colours, this is simply a coincidence!

Another iconic aspect of Coca Cola’s Christmas advertising are the innocent and fun polar bear characters we have all grown to love. Polar bears were first used in Coca Cola TV advertising back in 1993, when we saw them gazing at the Northern Lights and enjoying chilled bottles of Coca Cola. The bears are also used in Christmas packaging, their image spreading a warm, fuzzy joy across supermarket drinks shelves. Last year, images of polar bears became ever more important, as Coca Cola’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund inspired white cans featuring the bears. Ironically, though, the cans saw ‘many Coke drinkers seeing red’ as they caused confusion with their similarity to the silver Diet Coke variety. It seems that Coca Cola drinkers aren’t ready to let go of their beloved red cans, which have an effortless Christmassy feel despite their use all year round. (Image:

Coca Cola’s success perhaps lies in its annual reuse of traditional, popular advertising concepts alongside more modern campaigns, which keep consumers hooked on the brand. There is no denying that Coca Cola has undoubtedly had a huge impact on Christmas as we know it today. From the childlike excitement we feel as the iconic ‘Holidays are coming’ advert first flicks across our TV screens, to the Coca Cola-influenced image of Santa Clause that we all hold dear, Coca Cola has always been there at Christmastime. At OTB we’ll all certainly feel the festive chills the first time we catch a glimpse of the red trucks on our screens!

How five brands impact on Christmas: Coca Cola