The Holidays are a time where we share special connections, create warm memories and look back fondly to times gone by. Whether you call this time of year Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, or even Festivus (Seinfeld’s mock holiday for the ‘rest of us’), the Holidays are common touch points that brings us together.
Many businesses wait for nearly a year to ride a wave of good vibes and generosity that finally puts them back into ‘black’. Like pilots seeding the clouds to make it rain, marketers liberally shower us in nostalgia, shared cultural values, and sappy emotions. They know an important lesson: when customers have emotional connections with brands, its easier to get them to buy, and harder for competitors to nudge them aside.
It’s hard to find many better examples than we see in Coke’s holilday advertising through the decades.
Take a look through 60 years of Coca-Cola’s Christmas advertising and see a masterful demonstration.
60 Years of Coca-Cola Christmases
1950s. The first example is from the 1950s. GIs were back from WW2 and their kids were young; the oldest were only 15 by 1960. It was an era of optimism, wealth and growth. The message matched the time, it was simple. “Coke equals Good Times” is about all that was said.
1960s. The second example is from the 1960s. The kids were a bit older now and beginning to look back. Mom and Dad were remembering other happy times at their Grandparents homes during Christmas-time. Coke was trading on family, the concerns of a mother – like natural, wholesome food and economical value.
1970s. Can you imagine? Coke was actually stating that soda is wholesome and natural! That’s a far cry from where the company is today when it finds itself rapidly adding new categories like fruit juice, bottled water and energy beverages because consumers are backing away from soda for health reasons!
This spot from the 1970s looks about as dated as a lava lamp! By now, America had been to Vietnam, the Flower Power movement was in full swing, the kids were older now, and America, obsessed with youth, shows only young adults in the ad.
1980s. The fourth example is from the 1980s. To tell the truth, there isn’t much difference from this spot and the ‘70’s spot, perhaps a bit more contemporary for the times. However, by bringing back this well- known theme, Coke is playing off the nostalgia its own advertising created among people old enough to remember the original 1970s ad.
1990s. The 1990s ad was the first time Coke introduced the Polar Bears in a tv spot format. The Polar Bears had originally been created in France for Coke as a poster image during the 1920s. The world was beginning to wake up to Climate Change (the initial UN report had been published in 1987). Besides a very subtle message about the environment, the ad relies on family and the ‘magic’ that Coke introduces to any gathering (even a gathering of polar bears).
Lessons for Small Businesses
Here’s what owners and leaders of small businesses can take away from this history lesson
It’s important to be in-tune with the spirit of the times and how our prospects understand themselves in that context.
Big budgets help, but if you don’t have one, at least get the message right.
Your messages should reflect what you know about your customers – demographics, the psychology that plays into their decision making, their life styles and more.
Then, choose the media option(s) where you know they are hanging out. Today, social media is a major component and the good news? It’s very affordable.
Need help in this regard? A-Cubed Marketing Services has strengths in all these areas. You can reach us now; link over to our Contact Us page and send an email. Better yet, give us a call. We’d love to talk. Ask for Joe. 714-872-0561.