Christmas is next week, which means our society's obligatory celebration of consumerism, materialism, and family is finally here. In the haze of ads for trendy gadgets and copious Christmas specials, I'm sure you've seen at least one image of the iconic depiction of Santa Claus. If so, you probably didn't realize that you're looking at an advertisement for Coca-Cola.
Although Santa, as a concept, has existed for centuries, the classic, uniform image of the jolly fat man that we all know didn't exist until Coke essentially created it. Before Coke's design, the image of Santa was amorphous and fluid and entirely dependent on the artist behind the drawing. However, once the famous Coca-Cola ads featuring St. Nick hit the presses, almost every subsequent artist leaned on the soft drink giant's version as a stable template.
In the video linked above, the YouTube channel This is gives a condensed but insightful history of how Coca-Cola invented the modern Santa Claus.