By: Emily Rinehart
Every year, companies spend millions of dollars on campaigns specifically for the holidays in order to be a strong contender in the most competitive season for businesses. The holidays cause an increase in average spending every year, and every business wants a cut. This year alone it is predicted that holiday spending in December will be up 4.8% from last year.
One business who is always front and center with their holiday campaigns is Coca-Cola. They have released so many well-received commercials, and consumers look forward to their holiday ads every year. This year’s Coca-Cola holiday commercial is continuing this legacy. In the U.S., the ad features the hashtag “Be Santa”.
The 30 second spot starts off with a teenage boy watching TV when his mother comes in with a box of Christmas decorations and wants him to help her put them up. He promptly gets up and leaves the house on his bike. He passes carolers and ignores them before riding directly underneath a strand of lights that a family down the road is trying to hang on their house. As he rides into town, he almost runs into a woman carrying a large stack of presents before walking up to a glass front cooler of Coca-Cola. As he grabs himself one, he notices the shop owner slamming a door in a homeless man’s face. The boy offers the homeless man his bottle of coke instead, and the man smiles before handing him a Santa hat.
It then cuts to the boy speeding back home on his bike while wearing the hat as he passes the woman he almost ran into earlier distributing her gifts to random people on the street. As he passes the carolers again, he slows down and smiles. When he gets home, he rushes inside just as his mom is about to put the star on the tree. He takes it from her and sets it in its place at the top himself before giving his mom a long and meaningful hug.
The video then cuts to show the boy standing in his picture window from outside as he drinks a Coke from a glass bottle. It then goes back to his perspective looking out the window where he sees the homeless man form earlier standing across the snow-covered street.
A large Coca-Cola truck outlined in white rope lights passes and suddenly the homeless man transforms into Santa when he is seen again. The man points to the hat in the boy’s hand as the camera flashes to the boy and then back as Santa nods. “The world needs more Santas” appears on the screen in the white, signature Coca-Cola commercial font. It then shows Santa walking off screen before flashing the Coca-Cola logo with the hashtag “Be Santa” under it in white.
This commercial really hits the nail on the head with how my family celebrates Christmas. When I was little, I believed in the Santa everyone else does: A large, jolly fellow with a long white beard, a red and white velvety suit, and a long red, hat with a white ball at its end who delivers presents and holiday cheer to those who believe in him. I always left milk and cookies for him as a thank you. When I asked my parents if this version of Santa was real, they never told me no. Instead, they explained to me that Santa had been a Saint that gave gifts and did good deeds for those who were in need. In the spirit of good old St. Nick, my parents encouraged me to do the same.
This commercial is meant to do two things:
1. Create a positive association with the brand Coke
2. Encourage people to be kind even amongst the chaos this holiday season.
It hits home for people like me who were taught to always be kind, no matter what, from an early age, and it creates a feeling of warmth and happiness for the viewer. It is also consistent with the brand image that Coke has been working on for many years: that Coke makes the world go around and true happiness is drinking, and giving, Coke.
They did this with their “Good goes around” commercials, as well as the release of the Coke bottle labels that say “Share a Coke with…” that include a large variety of names to help everyone feel included. It makes you think about the people you love every time you buy one, which only helps consumers develop a positive brand image because it will elicit happy emotions when they see these labels.
I think this commercial encourages people to spread the true meaning of Christmas: give for the sake of giving with no promise of reciprocation. It is consistent with the brand’s image that giving Coke can be an act of kindness in itself. Because of these two factors, this ad accomplishes both of its goals and should be effective in selling more Coke this holiday season, while also delivering the sweet and meaningful message that consumers are expecting to see from this world renowned brand.