Ok so it's the festive season and time for 'festive blog'. I have to say I have always perpetrated the 'Coke changes Santa's colour from Blue to Red' story. Never really checked the facts and it always seemed such a good branding story!
Well it's time to set the record straight! It's not true! as I discovered from Santa's
Santa's distinctive look developed in the 18th and 19th centuries and the jovial, bearded, rotund figure, dressed in red was well established by the time Coke adopted him for their highly successful advertising campaigns using Haddon Sund Blom illustrations in the 1940's and 50's.
So Coke didn't make the look, but usurping it with their brand and leveraging 'Santa's Red' as their own was definitely a highly affective branding ploy. This image took the brand right into the home, and into the mind of Coke's future drinkers - the children. And what more memorable occassion to brand than Christmas itself. OK so Coke didn't change the colour, but that doesn't diminish the guile of the strategy.