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coca cola christmas trucks

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Shortly after starting the polar bear campaign, Coca-Cola also introduced their world famous trucks.

The first trucks featured representations of Santa Claus from Cola’s 1930s campaign, and were initially produced using special effects from the company responsible for film franchises such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, lighting the trucks with more than 30,000 bulbs.

The campaign was developed through the 1990s, introducing Coca-Cola Christmas packs in 1996, and a fleet of trucks in the 1999 advertisement which came to life.

The campaign has been met with resounding popularity. The 1998 ad was broadcast to millions of viewers in more than 100 different countries, and in 2014 the campaign was voted as the UK’s favorite Christmas advertisement ever. Such favor was demonstrated in 2007 when, after a six year absence, Coke was persuaded to re-introduce the campaign after receiving requests from consumers who identified the ad with the beginning of Christmas.

The campaign succeeds in immersing the viewer in a magical world of Christmas. The lit trucks are reminiscent of festive lighting on trees and buildings, the soundtrack repeats ‘holidays are coming’ over sleigh bells, and the trucks themselves magically spring to life.

The public’s willingness to engage with the campaign is highlighted by the Coca-Cola Tour which has trucks visit cities across the UK, and between 2011-15 approximately 3.5 million visitors came to see the trucks, some waiting hours to receive a free Coke.

Holiday Marketing Takeaway

If a Macy’s-style spectacle is impractical, use CGI and other effects to create a computerized one.

Table of Contents

Intro150 Years of the Best Holiday Campaigns
Chapter 1 The Genesis of Holiday Window Displays
Chapter 2 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Brings Spectacle to the Season
Chapter 3 How Coca-Cola Invented The Father of Christmas (Or did they?)
Chapter 4 Budweiser Celebrates the End to Prohibition
Chapter 5 Montgomery Ward Employee Invents Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Chapter 6 Campbell’s Soup Speaks to the ’50s Housewife
Chapter 7 Mr. Potato Head Becomes First Toy Ever Televised
Chapter 8 NORAD Tracks Santa’s Journey Around the World
Chapter 9 Norelco Popularizes Stop-Motion Animation
Chapter 10 Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas? Why You’ll Eat KFC in Japan
Chapter 11 Folgers Advertises the Intangible
Chapter 12 Hershey’s Holiday Bells Defy an Ad Agency
Chapter 13 Coca-Cola’s Polar Bears Humanize Global Warming
Chapter 14 Coca-Cola’s Christmas Fleet Brings Truckloads of Cheer
Chapter 15 M&M’s Stumble Upon Santa –– No One is Left Standing
Chapter 16 Starbucks Red Cups Spark Consumer Salivating (and Controversy)
Chapter 17 Target Keeps it Simple with Their Black Friday Catalog Focuses on Price
Chapter 18 Pampers Silent Night Raises $40 Million for Charity
Chapter 19 Give a Garmin Hits on Travel, Humor and Holiday Stress
Chapter 20 John Lewis Focuses on Storytelling Over Brand
Chapter 21 Macy’s Believe Campaign Raises $10 Million, Involves Schools
Chapter 22 American Express Small Business Saturday Supports Local
Chapter 23 Apple Misunderstood Campaign Makes Technology and Family a Priority
Chapter 24 REI’s #OptOutside Campaign Bucks Tradition