Santa has had quite an adventure of the years. Santa has even traded in his sleigh once a year since 1995 for a Coca-Cola truck and tours the UK, where he shares the soft drink that have become closely associated with the winter holidays. But due to pressure from health advocates, the soda company has plans to scale back the campaign.
Aside from that though, the Christmas trucks are a huge example of brand purpose and messaging aligning. The Coca-Cola brand encourages consumers to “share happiness,” and enacts this same principle on tour, which embodies the festive Santa that adorns the modern sleighs.
There is an effective “partnership” that was developed between Coca-Cola in a series of holiday ads that stretch through the better part of a century. Because of the success of the soda brand’s campaign with the holiday figure, many (falsely) attribute Santa’s modern appearance to the brand.
But in reality, the Santa that we all know didn’t actually come from a Coke ad. Brought to the U.S. as St. Nicholas—a benefactor to the poor and sick — Santa Claus gradually took shape in our collective imagination through a decentralized evolution.