Coca-Cola Mascots Resonate With Consumers
The Coca-Cola Company is the largest producer of nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. But Coca-Cola didn’t become the most popular soft drink in the world based on taste alone. Much of its success is attributed to its iconic advertising.
Coca-Cola’s distinctive ads are globally well-known and well-received because they connect with consumers on an emotional level. The ads tastefully associate drinking its soda with “happiness” via its slogans, messages, and carefully curated Coca-Cola Mascots.
The Santa Coca-Cola Mascot
Due to a decrease in sales during the winter season, in 1931 Coca-Cola devised a special wintertime campaign featuring Santa in The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, Ladies Home Journal, and National Geographic.
The Santa mascot, a jovial old man with rosy cheeks, a white beard, and a twinkle in his eye (illustrated by Haddon Sundblom), was chosen because his likeness is universally synonymous with the “most wonderful time of the year”.
Here is an example of a winter ad featuring the Coca-Cola Mascot, Santa, and the message he conveyed:
“Away with a Tired Thirsty Face.
Refresh yourself and be alert
bounce back to normal
Drink Coca-Cola Delicious and Refreshing.
Of course Old Santa, busiest man in the world, has his weary moments.
But he always comes up smiling. He knows how to pause and refresh himself
with an ice-cold Coca-Cola, and rebound to a happy normal…
This great drink is a perfect blend of those pleasant wholesome substances
which foremost scientists say do most in restoring you to your normal self.
It is really delicious and it will refresh you.”
The Coca-Cola Company claims that one of the most famous advertising slogans in Coca‑Cola history is “The Pause That Refreshes” because it’s an invitation to billions around the world to pause, refresh with a Coca‑Cola, and continue to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures.
In 2001, for the first time, an animated Santa appeared at the end of a Coca-Cola Christmas television commercial that was created by the Academy Award-winning animator, Alexandre Petrov.
The Sprite Boy Coca-Cola Mascot
Advertisements for the refreshing soda were very well received and Coca-Cola rapidly gained more followers. The company continued to work tirelessly developing brand awareness. However, along the way, much to their dismay, someone referred to the soda as “Coke” instead of Coca-Cola.
The abbreviated name caught on quickly. Thinking that the use of the “Coke” nickname would cause some brand confusion among consumers, the company did everything in their power to stop its widespread use. However, once they realized it was out of their control, they decided to go with the flow and make it official.
Hence in 1942 new advertisements featuring a new mascot were created to inform consumers that “Coke” and “Coca-Cola” were one-and-the-same. That mascot was the Sprite Boy, which has no relation to the drink. Then in 1945 “Coke” was officially registered as a trademark of The Coca‑Cola Company.
This “sprite” instead refers to an elf-like creature with magical powers and keen perception. The Sprite Boymascot (also illustrated by Haddon Sundblom) was a silver-haired boy with pointy elf ears that dressed like a soda-jerk. In addition, flashes of light were sparkled around him which represented the effervescent carbonated bubbles in Coke.
During the 40s, Coca-Cola was only distributed via soda fountains which were located in parlor areas of pharmacies. The trendy thing to do back then was to sit at the parlor counter to watch your five-cent soda or float being prepared. The person behind the counter preparing your refreshment was referred to as the “soda jerk”.
Here is an example of a winter ad featuring the Coca-Cola Mascot, Sprite Boy, and the message he conveyed:
I’m “Coca-Cola” known, too, as “Coke”.
I speak for “Coca-Cola”. I’m a symbol of its life and sparkle.
You call me “Coke”. It’s short for Coca-Cola”.
I offer you the pause that refreshes.
I speak for the real thing…
the soft drink with a distinctive quality of delicious refreshment…
the drink with the trade-mark “Coca-Cola”, known, too, as “Coke”.
P.S. Everybody likes to shorten words.
Abbreviating is a natural use of language. You hear “Coke”…
the friendly abbreviation for the trade-mark “Coca-Cola”… in every hand.
I tell the story in a picture you have as often heard in words.”
Frequently throughout the 50s and 60s, the Sprite Boy was frequently featured in print ads with the Coca-Cola Santa. In 1958 the first animated Sprite Boy appeared in a one minute Coca-Cola commercial.
Additionally, Sprite Boy supported United States troops fighting overseas in World War II by encouraging Americans in print ads to “Buy United States War Bonds”.
Did you know that in 1943 the U.S. government requested that Coca‑Cola be made available to U.S. troops? In response, Robert Woodruff (President of The Coca–Cola Company from 1923 to 1954) had more than 5 billion bottles of Coca‑Cola distributed to the military for a nickel.
Sam The Eagle Cross-Promotion Coca-Cola Mascot
Because taxpayers typically refuse to pay for the cost of hosting the Olympic Games in their own city, Olympic event committee organizers rely on commercial interests to raise funds to stage the Games. So in 1984, Coca-Cola pledged $30 million to the organizing committee to help sponsor the Olympics being held in Los Angeles, California from July 28th to August 12th.
As an official corporate sponsor of the Games, Coca-Cola was granted the right to conduct a cross-promotion with “Sam the Eagle” (designed by Walt Disney artists Bob Moore) who was the official mascot of the 1984 Summer Olympics.
The marketing campaign included Sam depicted on a series of 23 commemorative Coca-Cola cans as well as commemorative enameled metal lapel pins featuring Sam holding a flag. Sam was also featured on promotional posters that encouraged people to “collect the series” of commemorative Olympic Coca-Cola cans.
The Pola Bear Coca-Cola Mascot
For 27 years, off and on, the beloved Polar Bear has been a mascot for Coca-Cola in both print and television advertising. The very first Polar Bear ad appeared in a French magazine in 1922. After that, for the next 70 years, the bear only appeared periodically in ads.
Then in 1993, for the “Always Coca‑Cola” campaign, the polar bear resurfaced animation style to debut in a television commercial called “The Northern Lights”. The bears were animated by noted production company Rhythm and Hues using Computer-Generated Imagery technology.
In that commercial, several polar bears are gathered together looking up at the sky to see the aurora borealis while drinking from glass Coca-Cola bottles.
The concept for “The Northern Lights” was conceived by Ken Stewart who at the time was the Senior Vice President of Creative and Advertising for Columbia Pictures (formerly owned by Coca-Cola). He came up with the idea while reminiscing about his childhood Labrador Retriever that resembled a polar bear.
One year later in 1994, two Coca-Cola Polar Bear commercials aired in support of the Winter Olympics in which the bear slid down a luge and soared off a ski jump. Those commercials made the Polar Bear mascot one of the world’s most popular winter sports celebrities.
According to The Coca-Cola Company, the polar bear was, and still is, a huge hit with consumers because of its embodiment of characteristics like innocence, mischief, and fun. The slogan most often used in conjunction with the Polar Bear mascot is, “Always cool, Always Coca-Cola”.
Coca-Cola Mascot Collectible Memorabilia
Because Coca-Cola’s iconic advertisements have been a major influence on Pop Culture for decades, collectible memorabilia featuring the company’s mascots will always be in high demand. They make great gifts for collectors and Coke enthusiasts.
Our collectibles store sells a wide variety of Coca-Cola Mascot memorabilia and Coca-Cola collectibles. Here are just a few to get you started:
- Sprite Boy Bobblehead
- Sprite Boy Thermometer
- Coke Polar Bear Cookie Jar
- Coca-Cola Red Disc Ad Sign
- Coca-Cola Disc Telephone
- Coca-Cola 1930s Cooler
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