December 24

Did Coca Cola Invent Santa Claus?


Have you met the jolly old guy who rolls into town every December with the rosy cheeks and red suit?

Have you ever wondered where our modern day Santa came from? There is a HUGE marketing lesson in this story.

Yes, it is true that he is based on Saint Nicholas who lived in Lycia in the 3rd century and is said to have gifted poor families the dowery necessary so their daughters could get married.

But I can pretty much guarantee you he wasn’t walking around the middle east in a red fur suit with bunch of flying reindeer and a sack of toys (and coal) in tow.

Our modern Santa is primarily derived from the Clement Charles Moore poem “Night Before Christmas” from 1822. Moore condensed a lot of the Christmas traditions into a fun story, but you wouldn’t recognize Moore’s Santa if you saw him.

Then in 1869 cartoonist Thomas Nast gave the world a image of Santa through his art. But still, no distinctive red suit that we we all know and love.

And here’s the marketing lesson I promised…

The final version of Santa, the one we all know and love today, did not come from folklore, Moore, or Nast.
He came from Coca Cola.

Back in the 1920’s, Coca Cola was struggling, badly. There soda wasn’t flying off the shelves like it does today. They were desperately trying to find a way to market their soda so they could just live to see another day.

One of the problems was that soda was not very popular in the winter. In an effort to market their concoction as a cold weather drink, Coca Cola created their own Santa Claus.

Gone was Santa’s milk and cookies. The cookies were still there, but the milk was replace with Coca Cola. And his colorless fur suit was replaced with Coca Cola’s trademark red.

Coca Cola stopped marketing their product and started selling the story of Santa Claus. But not just any Santa Claus – they were marketing THEIR Santa Claus.

The public loved this new version of Santa and this created a “closed loop” that brought everyone’s thoughts back to Coca Cola every time they saw jolly old St. Nick!

So how do you harness this powerful marketing lesson for your real estate business?

The great Dan Kennedy says, “we should make advertising and talking about your services or products secondary to presenting a representative (YOU made into a character) people can like, admire, and trust, who is super-hero-like, has mystical powers, has a legend people can remember, and an image that is consistent. SELL THAT PERSON FIRST & FOREMOST.

Powerful words in the real estate world where everyone and their brother are trying to buy houses with the same marketing and messaging.

Committed to your success,
Ernie “Coca Cola Santa Claus” Vargas | The Probate Fox


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