Coca-Cola Celebrates Santa Claus (and Milk, of Course) This Holiday Season

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In addition to bringing back its beloved holiday icon, Santa Claus, this holiday season, Coca-Cola is trying to “open happiness” with an entirely new kind of beverage: designer milk to go with those cookies for Saint Nick.

Based on the selling points behind the startup brand Core Power that Coke has been distributing for a while, Fairlife milk has 60 percent more protein and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk as well as 30 percent more calcium, Business Insider reports.

In that regard, Fairlife seems like a perfect bit of diversification for the beverage giant, whose sales of regular and even Diet Coke have been sliding for years under greater health scrutiny by consumers and vilification as a major contributor to the world’s problem with obesity.

“It’s basically the premiumization of milk,” Sandy Douglas, a senior vice president at Coca-Cola’s North American operation, said last week at an investor conference, according to CBS News.[more]

“Our ambition there is to create the Simply of milk,” Douglas added, in reference to the company’s Simply juice and lemonade line that has seen strong growth even as the overall fruit-juice industry has been in decline.

Fairlife is meant to tap into a recent boom in dairy consumption and new dairy products as Americans turn to that category to get more protein, which represents one of the strongest trends in dieting. Coke said beverages with protein benefits are the fastest-growing segment of the business.

Consumption of actual fluid milk has continued to decline for decades, however. Brands like Core Power and Muscle Milk (another startup, now owned by Hormel) have tried to solve the issue by marketing milk as a sports-recovery beverage. That positioning also has been behind the recent renaissance of chocolate milk.

All this isn’t to say that Coke is going completely non-traditional these days.

The company is rolling out its 2014 holiday campaign, “Make Someone Happy,” which inspires fans to spread happiness “through small, but meaningful ways” during the holidays and beyond.

Having introduced the spot in Germany and then internationally including in-language versions, a new U.S. 60-second TV ad (there’s a 30-second U.S. spot, too) celebrates the classic Coca-Cola Santa Claus.

“This campaign is all about sharing your time, attention, love and laughter with friends, family and even strangers during this magical time of the year,” Andy McMillin, vice president of Coca-Cola Trademark for Coke’s North America operations, stated in a press release.

The campaign was created by Coca-Cola Germany with Ogilvy & Mather and adapted for the U.S. by Coca-Cola North America. It marks the return of Santa Claus as imagined by artist Haddon Sundblom, who Coke originally commissioned in 1931 for a series of ads.

“History and nostalgia are an important part of our brand, especially when it comes to the holidays, and (Haddon) Sundblom’s Santa Claus has been an integral part of our advertising campaigns since 1931,” stated Ted Ryan, Coke’s director of Heritage Communications. “He is loved by millions as a universal symbol of happiness and generosity.”

Santa also will appear on limited- edition holiday packaging on Coca-Cola multi-packs, cans, glass bottles, and on 20-oz., 1.25-liter and 2-liter PET bottles.

The spot debuts Nov. 27 on NBC during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast, and will air through late-December on network and cable stations including ABC, ABC Family, Hallmark Channel, USA, TBS, Lifetime, Food Network, Univision, BET and OWN. “Make Someone Happy” will appear during popular holiday programming such as Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Miracle on 34th Street and Christmas in Rockefeller Center.

The campaign also will feature print, outdoor, retail, radio, Delta in-flight and Macherich mall advertising, and social and digital programs will invite fans to #MakeSomeoneHappy. Coke also will donate $75,000 worth of toys to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

Crossing the U.S. this holiday season, the Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan of five trucks illuminated by more than 30,000 red and white sparkling lights each, will roll into nearly 200 cities across the country to spread holiday happiness through Dec. 21.

“This campaign is all about sharing your time, attention, love and laughter with friends, family and even strangers during this magical time of the year,” said Andy McMillin, vice president, Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America. “We’re encouraging people to embrace the spirit of the season and show how the act of being generous can have a powerful, positive impact on others that lasts long after the decorations come down.”

And in the UK, Coke is bringing back its iconic Coca-Cola Christmas truck, too, taking it on tour to almost 50 locations so fans can take pictures with the truck as it lights up, just as in TV ads, and enjoying a Coke while a choir sings Christmas songs. The global holiday commercial, “Give a Little Happiness,” launched in the UK earlier this month during The X Factor.

Who knows what Coca-Cola might advertise for Christmas 2015? With the launch of Fairlife, maybe the Coca-Cola Santa will have a milk mustache by then.

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