The big man in red goes by different names; Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas, and many others around the world. We each have our own idea of what he looks and sounds like, but he often changes from year to year and from advert to advert. Nevertheless, a classic Christmas advert is often not complete without an appearance from him.
Here are 4 advertisers’ very different interpretations of Santa to enjoy over the festive period. Remember to leave out a carrot for Rudolph:
Last year Greenpeace decided to release a rather disturbing clip online featuring a haggard Father Christmas in a dark room directly addressing the camera. He threatened to cancel Christmas because of global warming melting the North Pole and destroying his home. It’s an unnerving statement for young children to hear and a strange one for adults. Look out though, world leaders. You’re all on this Father Christmas’ naughty list.
Coca-Cola (1931 – Present)
Some argue that the 1931 Coca-Cola advert is where we get our modern day version of Santa from. Coca-Cola depicts him as a normal person with a very distinctive aura that sets him apart from the crowd. It’s no coincidence that the same Santa has been seen in Coca-Cola for over 80 years. For some, the festive season only begins once they’ve seen this version of the big man on their screens along with the famous “Holidays Are Coming” song.
Santa is often depicted as a normal guy. He’s one of us that’s been tasked with a unique and demanding job. IKEA decided to try to show this last year by having a Santa in disguise walk around one of its stores and pick up some bits and bobs he needed for the busy festive period. It was a clever and sweet creative that brought Santa into the real world, and he brought the festive cheer into it with him. The kids’ reactions in the ad aren’t far from how kids would have reacted in real life.
Camel Cigarettes (1940s)
Santa is synonymous with cheer, goodwill and trust. He’s the perfect person to endorse a deadly product. Sure – this advert is from a different era, but it shows how even the worst of products can be made to seem appealing when they appear on screen with the man in red. When a brand is after some positivity, hire Santa.
And here’s a bonus. How would the Coca-Cola Santa look dressed up in designer labels? Now you know.