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Lessons from History: Change the brand, not the recipe

The storming success of the Coca-Cola Company is testament to its marketing prowess
Lessons from History: Change the brand, not the recipe
  • As the IC refreshes its brand, Coca-Cola provides a reassuring lesson
  • The global beverage giant is the world’s most valuable non-tech brand

Santa wears a red suit thanks to Coca-Cola (US: KO) advertisements. So what, if it’s an urban myth? The fact that the beloved bringer of presents is so easily associated with Coca-Cola is testament to the outstanding success of its brand. Swedish artist Haddon Sundblom started drawing Coke’s Santa image in the 1930s, finding inspiration from Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem: “'Twas the Night Before Christmas". The image has since played a regular role in Coca-Cola’s eagerly awaited Christmas campaigns.

This year, acclaimed director Taika Waititi produced the Christmas advert, which combines a Hollywood epic with the heart-wrenching modesty of the John Lewis boy who could not wait to give his presents. Coke’s story of a father who travels across hostile landscapes to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa initially causes you scoff at the ridiculous extravagance of the production, only to unexpectedly reduce you to a blubbering state on discovering that the girl had asked Santa to “bring Daddy home”.

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