Friday, December 14, 2007


This is the last of the Christmas Coca-Cola ads that I managed to save from a bunch of old National Geographics my father donated to the Goodwill. This one I found almost a little disturbing in its composition. On the bottom, you have well-scrubbed, toe-headed children in their footy pajamas diving into a pile of Christmas gifts. The girl, perhaps more thoughtful than the avaricious male, looks up worshipfully at the God-like apparition of Santa hovering overhead. She is clearly offering her thanks to the almighty gift-giver. In a subliminal way, Santa is a golden idol to which children pray for their material desires.

Don't get me wrong; I love the idea of Santa as this jolly old man who generously gives toys to all the good girls and boys. I just find his omnipotent positioning in the ad a little strange. It's especially weird when he, in this exalted position, is selling us Coca-Cola. It's like, "God said you must drink Coke!"

Having said all that, this ad is still a great example of an idyllic Christmas image specially designed to elicit the warm fuzzies. I think it's a real shame that magazine advertising nowadays doesn't use more artwork rather than just photos. Perhaps advertisers are worried about truth in advertising laws, or maybe it's simply cheaper to use photographs than hire commercial artists, but beautifully painted images can evoke so much more than a photograph ever can. And if you Photoshop an image to heighten its dramatic effect, everyone knows it's been altered. With paintings and drawings, you allow the artist the creative license to seduce you. I missing seeing ads like this.

I'll probably be offering up more old ads in future posts. I know I've drifted away from the toy theme a bit, but don't worry, I'll have my action figure friends back in the next post.

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