Holiday advertising campaigns are an essential component of the Annual Marketing Strategy for any retail brand. Any pending sales target that may not have been accomplished round the year may well be achieved or even achieved within the last few months of the financial year with an effective holiday advertising campaign. Coca-Cola being no different also relies on the same stratagem and since the 1920s.
Initially during the 1920s, Coke started with the festive season ad-campaigns with an objective to establish it as a perpetual beverage in North America and not a seasonal one. This was done with an aim to serve two purposes. One, to make it a an year-round beverage, which by nature is a drink best served cold, hence might not be very popular during the holidays; two, to cash in on the holiday spending.
Coca-Cola is especially a pioneer of the emotive ad-campaigns during the festive season. It creates an appeal of relationships, warmth, camaraderie, sharing, happiness, and all the good things in life that everyone yearns for especially during the festive season. This is the kind of brand image that Coke has built over the years. It is also said to have something to do with the Red and White Christmas branding, which is in sync with the festivities and the hues surrounding them.
At the core of Coke’s ad-campaign in 1931’s Christmas was the character Saint Nick, which has greatly influenced the modern day Santa. Saint Nick was breathed into life by artist Haddon Sundblom, and was inspired from the 1822 poem “Twas the night before Christmas” by Clament Clarke Moore. The jolly Coke Santa was often depicted taking a break from his Christmas regime and enjoying it with a bottle of Coke.
Another important character of the Coke’s festive season ad-campaigns was the Polar Bear, which started appearing in print as early as 1922, but they were actually brought to life with computer animation aided TV ad-campaign of 1931, a brainchild of Ken Stewart. This ad-campaign, known as the ‘Always Coca-Cola’ TV Campaign featured Polar Bears with human like personalities indulging in all the frivolities of the festival with Coke in the Northern Ice Cap.
Coke’s Festive Ad-campaign, took an upswing since 1995, when they started rolling out a batch of Special Christmas Coke Delivery trucks. Typically, these trucks are dressed in bright Christmas Coke themes, lit up with thousands of lights and the words, “Holidays are coming.” This was an initiative taken so that Coke could be delivered even during the Festive season and that too right at the consumers’ door-steps. These trucks are now a common sighting during the festive season even in the remotest part of North America and are now even considered to be an integral part of the Christmas setting. The Truck Ad-campaign has in fact, in virtue, been so successful that the arrival of these trucks is considered to be indicative of the on-set of the festive season by many in North America today.
This year, Coke is doing something extra. Apart from Coke’s classic “Holidays are Coming” trucks, which were launched last week during X-Factor, the company has extended its “Share a Coke” campaign for 2013 Christmas, to encourage consumers to “share a Coke with Santa”. And since we are living in the age of social media, Coke has given its fans an opportunity to send a Christmas ribbon-designed Coke bottle to their close ones via Coca Cola’s Facebook Fan Page.