How does a company that normally advertises their product to people in the summer, taking advantage of the outdoor heat and thirst of individuals, advertise that same product to people in the winter? They get the holidays involved. Coca-Cola does this by using one of the most classic symbols of the Christmas season. Santa is a symbol that appeals to the hearts and minds of adults and children around the world, but more specifically at this point in time, America.
In this vintage (1931) advertisement from the Saturday Evening Post, we see jolly St. Nick, hat in hand, holding a full glass of Coke with a big smile on his rosy cheeked face. As a child that has often played in the snow and now an adult that has worked hard outdoors during the winter, this red cheeked face looks oh so familiar. The rosiness and disheveled hair triggers that feeling of your first steps inside the house after hours of being out. Your face is cold, but your body is warm under multiple layers, the heat escapes from underneath your hat when you take it off and as you begin to remove your outer layers of clothing you may normally be inclined to have a cup of hot chocolate or even coffee but after seeing this advertisement your taste buds will have something a little different in mind. Instead you’ll be reaching into the fridge for a delicious coke.
In quotation underneath of Santa Claus we read “MY HAT’S OFF to the pause that refreshes”. Even though we know ole Kris Kringle isn’t an actual person, we do know that these words are coming from the mouth of this imaginary figure. If Santa approves of coke who in their right mind would disagree. For children, Santas words probably carry the same amount of weight as the words of Jesus. As adults, the thought of Santa continues to instill the same cozy feelings that we felt as children. Even though we may not consciously realize it when we see advertisements like this, it will bring the holiday spirit into our hearts.
“The pause that refreshes” is a line that is used in many vintage Coca-Cola ads. But it works. “The pause” aka the break, aka the moment in time when all of your worries disappear and all that is in your mind is that delicious taste of coke. As it pours down your throat and into your soul everything around you dissipates and for a brief moment you can experience bliss.
“You find a cheerful soda fountain with ice-cold Coca-Cola ready.” How is a soda fountain cheerful? We don’t know but we also don’t care. It makes us feel good. It lets us think that the soda fountain wants us to come get a drink from it and that it is happy to do so. Not only is it readily available and willing to quench our thirst, it will accomplish this task with “ice-cold Coca-Cola”. It is the exact thing we want to drink and possibly the exact thing you’ll be craving, after a day of running around gather Christmas gifts for family, friends, etc. and it’s all thanks to this effective Santa Clause advertisement.
Another effective tool, you may not realize is actually effective, is the fact that St. Nick is actually a painting. He’s not a photograph, or some strange guy at a local store. Why is this? Why not use just a photo? A painting is warm, inviting, homely. It’s something we wouldn’t mind hanging on the wall on the other side of our Christmas trees. But if nothing else it is in one word, perfect. The perfect Santa in every way resembling everything and more that we can imagine a real life Claus would look like. Large belly like a bowl full of jelly, rosy red cheeks, a snow white beard. He’s like a big cuddly polar bear that can’t help but warm you up inside. In a sense he is the perfectly roasted marshmallow, he is the perfect cup of hot chocolate, he is that comforting sound of logs crackling in the fire in front of the gifts with the smell of pine in the air, he is CHRISTMAS.