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Coca-Cola Christmas: The 30s

Here's a look at how it all began, with the Coca-Cola Santa Claus image dominating the brand's strategy throughout the 1930s.

Campaign from 1931, featuring in the Saturday Evening Post

Campaign from 1931, featuring in the Saturday Evening Post

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'My Hat's off to the Pause that Refreshes'

This is the first image of the Coca-Cola Santa Claus by artist Haddon Sundblom, introduced in 1931. The ad appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and Collier's in December 1931.

The brand decided to tie Santa Claus and Christmas to the drink because people often thought Coca-Cola was a drink for the hot summer months. They were designed to remind people that Coca-Cola was ideal for every month of the year.

In 1934 more Santa images were comissioned. The high cost of canvas meant artist Sundblom was forced to use the same canvas board, painting over his original designs.

1936 Original oil painting: 'Me Too'

In the 1936 picture, Santa is not wearing his jacket and has his shirt sleeves are rolled up to show red underwear.

This vision of Santa appeared during the Great Depression in the United States, when it was hoped the idea of a simple moment of pleasure and a reminder of happy times were desperately needed.

Store Display - based on "'Give and Take' Say I" original oil painting from 1937

In 1937 St Nicholas is again wearing his red coat. His gloves are tucked into his belt while he stops to take a drink, and a turkey leg, out of the homeowners' fridge.


Retail Display - based on the "Thanks for the Pause that Refreshes" original oil painting from 1938

The 1938 Coca-Cola Santa Claus artwork features the first appearance of a child, who welcomes Santa with a bottle of Coke and a hug.

The artwork mentions one of the most famous and long-lasting Coca-Cola slogans: "The Pause that Refreshes". The slogan was used from 1929 into the 1950s, even after other slogans for Coca-Cola had been introduced.

The slogan appearing inside the red disc, "Delicious and Refreshing", was already decades old at the time. Those words were used to describe Coca-Cola at its introduction in 1886.

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