business branding colour- how coca cola turned santa red

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

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This would have to be one of the best marketing coups. A company taking an iconic figure and moulding it to represent their brand. All through using their brand colour.

Noticing their drinks were seen as a warm weather drink, Coca-Cola decided to start a campaign to remind people they were a great choice in any month, no matter what the weather.

Their campaign began in 1922 with the slogan “Thirst Knows No Season”. How did they get this message out to their consumers and the general public? By connecting their drink to a true icon of winter.

So they commissioned an artist and the result is none other than the modern day red-suited jolly Santa Claus. Red was chosen to match Coca-Cola’s brand colour. Before this Father Christmas was traditionally seen wearing green.

And like many major corporate brands they have a patent on the Coca Cola red.

Business branding colour- how coca cola turned santa red - advert. This opens a new browser window.

Over the decades this direct colour association to Coca Cola has lessened with the red Santa becoming bigger than its creator.

When you see Santa do you think Coca-cola?

Source: For the full story on how Coca-Cola’s Santa was created.

If you enjoyed this month’s colour in branding article, why not check out the library of colour in branding articles.

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  1. Tanya Rennick on November 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I was just having this very conversation about Santa with my 10 year old son! How funny. I will show this to him. Of course, he’s crazy about Coca Cola…

    • admin on November 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      Oh I’d love to know what he thinks…. love for him to leave a comment.

  2. Tamsin Fox-Davies on November 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    This is fascinating. Thanks for writing this post. It’s amazing how what we think of as traditional is often created or imported wholesale – like Christmas trees!

    • admin on November 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      Hi Tamsin,

      You raised an interesting question. When was something new become tradition. The Christmas Tree was introduced by Queen Victoria.

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