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Coke's warm and fuzzy holiday branding

Chris Dickman Mon, 11/25/2013 - 07:43

Current thinking is that branding is all about emotion. Among the emotional high points in our lives are family-centric holidays and perhaps none more so for Western culture than Christmas. When it comes to major brands that have tapped the seasonal zeitgeist, one of the first that comes to mind is Coca-Cola, with the firm first appropriating the Santa Claus image back in the 1920s. The example below from the 1940s is typical, with the manic Sprite Boy putting in a rare guest appearance.

But even an iconic figure like Santa can be milked for only so long, with Coke accordingly casting an ever-wider net for aspects of the festive season that it can tap for emotional resonance. You have to give the firm high marks for originality, since it has now come up with... sweaters. As the Coke Zero Sweater Generator site puts it so eloquently, "The tacky holiday sweater is a time-honored staple of holiday cheer." Accordingly, you can use the site to generate the corny sweater of your dreams (or nightmares) and "wield the power of a thousand grandmothers in the palm of your internet."

Concretely, this means you can pick from a variety of sweater styles, colors, patterns, trim and, of course, weird graphics ranging from moose and roast turkeys, through unicorns and robots. With just two discrete Coke-related graphics as reminders of what the whole exercise is about. Once complete you can add your creation to the gallery and hope you'll get enough votes to propel it into the ranks of the 100 most popular. In which case you'll receive a made-in-America, Italian-wool version of it in the mail, with no need to thank your grandmother. Below are the ones currently topping the leaderboard, which would seem to indicate once again the warm and fuzzy connection between dinosaurs and Christmas.