Recite the name ‘Santa Claus.’ What picture came in your mind? Probably a big fat jolly man in a red suit with a huge white beard. Well, to spoil your childhood, Santa didn’t always look like this. It was Coca-Cola that made him look like big-fat Santa.
Not many know this fact (including Christians) that prior to 1931, Santa was often shown as a tall tall gaunt man or sometimes a spooky-looking elf. Sometimes he wore a bishop’s dress and a Norse huntman’s skin. In fact, in the American Civil war (during 1862) Santa was depicted as a small elf figure who supported Union (Santa is politicaly active, too).
We owe this red dressed figure to Coca-Cola company. Coca-Cola has been using Santa Claus in its ads since the 1920s. The first advt. used the picture of Santa as a strict looking man (Can you imagine Santa not laughing Ho-Ho-Ho?).
In 1931, the company thought that they could use the picture of Santa proactively to increase the sales in December. So they planned to put ads in big Magazines. The company wanted to show a positive-image Santa who can appear both realistic as well as symbolic.
A painter with name Hadden Sundblom was hired for this work. His task was to produce an original image of Santa itself, not a copy of a man wearing a dress of Santa.
Hadden drew Santa as a warm character, one who is pleasant to see. One could tell that Santa is of friendly nature just by seeing the picture. It was plumpy and Human Santa, the first time in history.
It is also told that Santa was drawn wearing Red dress as red is the official colour of Coca-Cola.
So, before you dress your self or your children as Santa Claus, just utter a small thanks to Coca-Cola that you didn’t buy a not-so-good-looking dress of elf because of the company.