When Santa Met Cola: An Interpreter’s Dream

Santa Claus is an international figure that basically represents everything Christmas. He is the reason that younger siblings wake you up at ridiculous times (and let’s be honest, anytime before midday is not only rude but totally unfair) to open gifts from a magical man who abducts tiny humans with strange ears and commits them to slave labor the rest of their lives.


I have a theory that someone told good ol’ Santie to take a selfie, but he misinterpreted and thought they said take an elfie instead. *zzzzzzzingggggggg*

Coca Cola was developed in 1886 and started off with a measly nine people served daily. Present day, over 1.9 BILLION consume Coke on a daily basis and has become one of the largest companies in the world. It also tastes absolutely fabulous at McDonalds with a medium McChicken meal and a Chicken ‘n’ Cheese on the side. (Don’t judge me okay, it’s late at night and I’m soooo hungry).

Don’t have anything to do with each other, right?


Coca Cola has been credited with actually developing the depiction of the modern day Santa Claus. In early depictions, he was quite skinny, wearing a green suit and if I’m gonna be a hundred percent truthful, he looked super creepy.

Now he is seen as a jolly, large older man – the Grandfather type figure for younger children. Because of such a successful advertising campaign, he started wearing Coca Cola red suit; a tradition that continues on into the present day.

“Ho ho ho I’ve come to creep” – Actual quote by early Santa


The advertisement for Coca Cola depicted below can be viewed in a variety of ways. When you first see the image, you see Santa Claus hugging a small child with a Coca-Cola in his hand. It is the denotation – what you are literally seeing and initially interpreting in your mind.

No wonder Santa has weight problems…

When you look closer and look for the signified meaning behind the ad, you are confronted with images that can reflect not only your knowledge on the subject but also previous feelings and experiences.

As everyone knows, St Nick is a busy man on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This ad implies that the only thing that will satisfy and refresh someone who is incredibly busy is a Coca Cola.  It also can imply to small children that if you leave a Coke out for Santa on Christmas Eve, he will stop – pause – to refresh himself and you might get the opportunity to see him! 

In this image – or any image for that matter – the connotations attached are literally endless. A person may examine this image and gain a totally different understanding to someone else. In this case, I think it evokes happiness and satisfaction. Christmas is a time of the year that is meant to bring families together, share gifts with loved ones and for some, to say thanks to the Lord for his sacrifices. In addition, Santa Claus is a symbol of hope for a lot of small children whose eyes light up on Christmas morning when they see the gifts they have received.

This then becomes an association with Coca Cola as a brand – you see Coke supplying happiness and giving you extra energy to complete those tasks that are sometimes too difficult.What a magical drink full of magical goodness!
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