When it comes to Coke’s connection with holidays, few dates on the calendar can top Dec. 25th thanks to iconic Christmas campaigns featuring the Sundblom Santa Claus and the Coca-Cola Polar Bear.
But Coca-Cola and Cupid go way back, too.
Coke produced promotional Valentine’s calendars as early as 1889, and Valentine’s Day print ads in the Coca-Cola Archives date back to 1926 (see black-and-white image above).
"The best advertising always reflects what is happening in the world at that time. I always compare it to holding a mirror up to society – you can see what hairstyles, fashion, culture and music are popular,” said Coca-Cola Archivist Ted Ryan. “The same is idea is true of special holidays like Valentine’s Day… Coca‑Cola naturally belongs.”
￼￼￼Coke has launched retail campaigns, commercials and more in conjunction with the February 14th holiday. A 1973 Coca-Cola USA promotion invited consumers to "Buy Someone You Love A Coke," preserving the “love and harmony” message conveyed in the 1971 TV ad, "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke" (also known as “Hilltop”).
“A lot of our advertising through the years, even our non-Valentine’s Day spots, features couples enjoying time with each other and our products,” adds Jamal Booker, Coke’s manager of Heritage Communications.
More recent ads include a romantic 2012 commercial titled “Happiness is in the Air.” In the spot, which was created by a 23-year-old director from New Zealand, bouquets of red balloons drift down to a busy cityscape on Valentine’s Day, bringing with them cans of Coca-Cola for unsuspecting couples to share.
On Valentine’s Day 2012, Coca-Cola Turkey launched an online film titled “Love Machine.” In the clip, a vending machine customized with a hidden camera dispensed free Coca-Cola to couples who could prove their love through a hug or kiss in a busy Istanbul shopping mall.
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