Santa is at the heart of many commercial and charity campaigns. CFP
It’s only two weeks to Christmas, one of the most important festivals in countries such as the US and the UK. Santa Claus is coming – the big, jolly man in a red suit with a white beard who is said to give gifts to children around the world.
But whether you can meet him or not, chances are that you will see him in an ad. After all, Christmas is a good chance for brands to promote their products. One famous Santa ad that US people remember is the classic Coca-Cola image of 1954, which has Santa Claus enjoying a “gift for his thirst” – a bottle of coke – while he takes a break and puts down his sack of toys.
Many organizations and agencies use Santa to send messages to the world.
Last month, PostNord Sverige, Sweden’s postal service, released a new ad for Christmas. In the ad, Santa tries to speed his reindeer up so that he can send presents quicker in order to satisfy modern people’s needs, but he only makes things chaotic.
Finally he gives up, but as he continues on his delivery trip, he sees a little girl and gives her a friendly nod and wave. The ad seems like a feel-good story, but actually has a deeper meaning. Like Santa, PostNord has pressure to deliver packages quickly in this e-commerce era. Like Santa, PostNord wants greater understanding from the public.
The ad about Santa from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is another that is thinking about. In the 100-second film, the familiar bearded figure walks through the smoke from the burned-out cars in a war zone. In a damaged house, Santa finds a lonely girl and tries to give her a present. But the girl can’t receive it because, so it turns out, she is dreaming. The message is “to remind more people to pay attention to families which are separated due to conflict, migration or natural disasters”, Jenni Smout, the communications manager of ICRC, told CNN.
People associate Santa with the joy of Christmas but in truth Santa has always had other uses. Certainly he’s a favorite with companies hoping to sell their goods in the holiday season, but other organizations with a message also value the charm of the white-bearded old man in the red outfit and his reindeer friends.