Merry Christmas with Coca-Cola Santa by Haddon Sundblom
How many of us have memories of the sounds and smells of Christmas and what we think about Santa Claus and the holidays. I have always loved Santa especially the way he is drawn by Mr. Sundblom. These pictures evoke memories of my childhood and make me happy. Just think the image and colors we use today for Santa all came from the art of Haddon Sundblom and advertising by Coca-Cola. Enjoy the ones I have found, and of course, Merry Christmas!!
Great history is found at the coca-cola company website, excerpt:
“In 1931, Coca-Cola commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images using Santa Claus showing Santa himself, not a man dressed as Santa.
Sundblom’s Santa debuted in 1931 in Coke ads in The Saturday Evening Post and appeared regularly in that magazine, as well as in Ladies Home Journal, National Geographic, The New Yorker and others.
In the beginning, Sundblom painted the image of Santa using a live model his friend Lou Prentiss, a retired salesman. When Prentiss passed away Sundblom used himself as a model, painting while looking into a mirror. Finally, he began relying on photographs to create the image of St. Nick.
People loved the Coca-Cola Santa images and paid such close attention to them that when anything changed, they sent letters to The Coca-Cola Company. One year, Santa’s large belt was backwards (perhaps because Sundblom was painting via a mirror). Another year, Santa Claus appeared without a wedding ring, causing fans to write asking what happened to Mrs. Claus.
The children who appear with Santa in Sundblom’s paintings were based on Sundblom’s neighbors two little girls. So he changed one to a boy in his paintings.
The dog in Sundblom’s 1964 Santa Claus painting was actually a gray poodle belonging to the neighborhood florist. But Sundblom wanted the dog to stand out in the holiday scene, so he painted the animal with “black fur.”
Haddon Hubbard “Sunny” Sundblom (June 22, 1899 – March 10, 1976)
1931 – My Hat’s Off to the Pause that Refreshes The magical transformation of the Coca-Cola Santa happened in 1931. Archie Lee, the ad agency creative director for the Coca-Cola account, was inspired to show a wholesome, kind Santa. He turned to artist Haddon Sundblom to create the image.
1932 – Sundblom’s second painting features a note in which a child, Jimmy leaves a Coke for Santa instead of cookies.
1935 – This ad shows that if drinking Coca-Cola is good enough to refresh Santa, it is good enough to refresh everyone else.
1936: “Me too!“ In this painting Santa enjoys himself in the midst of his bounty of toys and a Coca-Cola.
1937: “Give and take, say I”
1938 – a child first showed up in a family living room
1941 –Santa relaxes next to a cooler of Coca-Colas. Used in calendars, cut outs and in print ads. In 1941 trademarked the name Coca-Cola.
1944 – Santa and Sprint boy saluting the troops.
1945 – at the end of the Second World War.
1949 – Sprite boy and eight reindeer referencing the Twas the Night Before Christmas poems of Clement Clarke Moore
1951 – “Now It’s My Time” using his own model from self-portraits from photographs according to his wife Betty.
1952 – next door neighbor in Tucson Arizona, Lani & Nancy Nason sisters, but Sundblom changed one to a boy to balance the scene. Also appeared in 1952 and 1953 works.
1956 – artwork is a cleaned-up version of the 1953 painting. Work bench and helper removed. Produced by a new advertising agency for Coca-Cola McCann-Erickson
1959- shows a departure for Sundblom, from this year forward Santa plays an important role but elves, children, pets and toys also play significant roles.
1962 – Season’s Greetings impish child-like personality, as in the 1936 with a train also a helicopter something that didn’t exist until 1940.
1963 – Dear Santa, Please Pause Here, Jimmy” is at it again. First in 1932 then again in 1945, Jimmy leaves a note for Santa and a Coke. In the 2001 ad this 1963 Santa comes to life in an animated holiday commercial created by Academy Award-winning animated Alexandre Petrov.
1964 – “Things Go Better with Coke” The last year that a tradition, original Sundblom Santa was used in the advertising for Coca-Cola. Two children and black poodle.
Thank you for reading my blog and hope you enjoyed the amazing artistic abilities of Haddon Sundblom. His career covered other illustrations and can be found doing a search. I am providing this for research purposes only.
I am so happy you found my article and it you and your husband enjoyed it. I believe the image created has been a comfort to many through the years and that is one reason I did this blog. Blessings to you and yours and Merry Christmas!!
Thanks so much I enjoyed this article. My spouse is a UNSTF Vet of 25 years. A mile fm our home a coca cola Santa eithout the bottle is displayed in front of a house Every Xmas. My spouse suffers fm severe PTSD & the last 7 years he looks for that Santa & wishes he could find one. He grew up with one like that at the corner store. I know it would help brighten his outlook on life I was hoping I could find one. If I could I’d make him one. Thankyou for listening & for sharing this beautiful history & craftmanship. Blessings to you & yours.