Santa Claus isn't exactly a saint. Sure, his alias is St. Nick, but don't be fooled by the ho-ho-hos. Underneath that beard of white is a corporate shark, one who happily peddles himself out to promote any product he can during the holidays.
Relax, we're 90 percent kidding.
The other 10 percent, well, we have proof to support our argument. Granted, Santa Claus morphed over time from the Catholic saint to the most beloved, and believed in, fictional character. Santa's look was conceived in the early 20th century with L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, a 1902 children's book.
From there, Santa and his iconic image (thick white beard and reindeer, etc.) began to develop. But when Coca-Cola got a hold of Santa, they really helped define him and his look as we know it today. In 1930, artist Fred Mizen first painted a department-store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke. In 1931, illustrator Haddon Sundblom drew inspiration from the descriptive poem Twas the Night Before Christmas and debuted his Santa in The Saturday Evening Post. From there the image began regularly appearing in other publications like Ladies' Home Journal, National Geographic, The New Yorker, and others.
Since then Santa has appeared in an innumerable amount of advertisements, some of them evolving into less than wholesome promotions. For years, Santa was the spokesperson for booze, lingerie, and a ton of cigarette ads when the holidays rolled around. While in modern times, Santa has certainly gotten his act together (OK, there are still some boozy Santa ads), he continues to pop up in some of our favorite products' holiday advertisements.
For instance, we all remember when Santa chose Pepsi over Coke in a few ads. Then there was the time that Santa got a little upset that a family ran out of milk for the Got Milk? campaign. We rounded up some of our favorite Santa food and drink commercials here so you could see how some of the most iconic products capitalize on the season.
-Lauren Gordon, The Daily Meal
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