Santa and the Coca Cola Co.

Soda pop can

I am often asked if Santa is the product of the Coca Cola Company which created the look of today's Santa.

Coke did not create the Santa look but, like so many other companies, capitalized on the popularity of Santa and Christmas.

There are numerous examples of the look of Santa created years before Coke first introduced him as their Christmas spokesman. The Saturday Evening Post had already published for several years Santa on their front covers during the Christmas editions. If you look at these fantastic images, you will see that the look Santa was well underway prior to Coca Cola’s. 

The look and mannerism of Santa is the evolutions of centuries of depictions and interpretations, especially from many Western European countries (several European countries depict Santa as a tall and slim bishop). Without going to far in the past, the North-American Santa, strongly based on the Dutch version and German influences, was often depicted wearing different colors, mixed around; blue pants, green coat, red hat and so forth. Many earlier versions had Santa wearing a crown of evergreen in his hair.

So why do many people associate Santa with Coca Cola? Marketing and longevity. The last few generations have been exposed to the association of Santa with Coke that it is part of their psyche.