Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vintage Santa Claus

From a CNN Eatocracy interview with Phil Mooney, Coca-Cola's Vice President for Heritage Communications:

Eatocracy: What is Coca-Cola’s connection with the modern-day Santa Claus?

Mooney: Coca-Cola had an artist named Haddon Sundblom who worked for us from 1931 to 1964. Each year he would create an advertising piece that would show Coca-Cola and Santa Claus and because the ads appeared in all of the popular magazines of the day, his interpretation became the American vision of what Santa Claus looked like.

Eatocracy: What were the paintings based on?

Mooney: The essence of the paintings were based on Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas” Prior to Sundblom’s depiction, there were various interpretations of Santa in the mainstream media. In some depictions, he was a dwarf-like character, in others he was full-bodied but did not enjoy what he was doing. So that is where Sundblom built on the poem and created the happy Santa Claus who loves what he is doing, loves children, pets and has a bit of mischievousness in his character. He is the embodiment of the holiday - of a time to be with your family and friends.

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