Coca-Cola's advertising has significantly affected American culture, and it is frequently credited with inventing the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in a red-and-white suit. Although the company did start using the red-and-white Santa image in the 1930s, with its winter advertising campaigns illustrated by Haddon Sundblom, the motif was already common. Coca-Cola was not even the first soft drink company to use the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising: White Rock Beverages used Santa in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923, after first using him to sell mineral water in 1915.
Before Santa Claus, Coca-Cola relied on images of smartly-dressed young women to sell its beverages. Coca-Cola's first such advertisement appeared in 1895, featuring the young Bostonian actress Hilda Clark as its spokeswoman.
1941 saw the first use of the nickname "Coke" as an official trademark for the product, with a series of advertisements informing consumers that "Coke means Coca-Cola".
In 1971, a song from a Coca-Cola commercial called "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," produced by Billy Davis, became a hit single.
Coke's advertising is pervasive, as one of Woodruff's stated goals was to ensure that everyone on Earth drank Coca-Cola as their preferred beverage. This is especially true in southern areas of the United States, such as Atlanta, where Coke was born.
Some of the memorable Coca-Cola television commercials between 1960 through 1986 were written and produced by former Atlanta radio veteran Don Naylor (WGST 1936–1950, WAGA 1951–1959) during his career as a producer for the McCann Erickson advertising agency. Many of these early television commercials for Coca-Cola featured movie stars, sports heroes and popular singers.
During the 1980s, Pepsi-Cola ran a series of television advertisements showing people participating in taste tests demonstrating that, according to the commercials, "fifty percent of the... [continues]
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