For marketeers around the world, coming up with a marketing campaign that will make a lasting impression is one thing, but coming up with a brand to stand the test of time is another altogether.

Coca-Cola have long been experts in this field, and although a reported annual marketing budget of more than £2billion is no doubt helpful, you have to go all the way back to 1931 to find the origin of the Coca-Cola Christmas Santa that has become so synonymous with the brand.

It was in this year that the UK abandoned the gold standard, Actor Robert Duval was born and the George Washington Bridge was officially opened in New York City.

Coca-Cola commissioned Swedish-American artist Haddon Sundblom to create some magazine ads for their Christmas marketing, the ads to be inspired by the famous poem from 1822, The Night Before Christmas.

The image Sundblom created was that of a large and jolly Santa Claus, dressed in a red suit with rosy cheeks and a bottle of Coca-Cola in his hand.

In recent decades it has given birth to one of the most popular Christmas myths that it is in fact down to Coca-Cola that Santa Claus is red. This is untrue, as explained on Coca-Cola’s very own website about the relationship between themselves and Santa.

“It’s a common misconception that Santa wears a red coat because red is the colour of Coca-Cola. In fact, although Haddon Sundblom’s paintings have been very influential, Santa had appeared in red clothing before Sundblom began creating festive images for the company.” explains

In 1995 the now infamous and much-loved Holidays Are Coming ad was launched, created by agency W.B. Doner. This ad now unofficially marks the start of Christmas for many people, with the full length commercial airing in the UK in November in 2013.

Although the ads have differed slightly since the 1995 original, the Coca-Cola trucks themselves are as popular now as they have ever been, with The Coca-Cola Truck Tour visiting parts of the UK throughout November and December in 2012 and 2013, attracting massive numbers of visitors in the process.

Other popular Christmas campaigns have been used by the company down the years, including the loveable Polar Bears. This memorable ad was first aired in 1993 and was created by Ken Stewart, himself inspired by his pet dog.

Despite this, the Polar Bears are actually older than the Coca-Cola Santa, first appearing in print advertising for the company way back in 1922.

Are there any other brands out there that rival Coca-Cola for Christmas? Let us know via Twitter @FeelChristmassy.

Also, check out the Christmas section on the Coca-Cola website – some fascinating information about the origins of their Christmas campaigns.