For many people, the imminent arrival of Christmas is heralded by the first appearance of the famous Coca Cola truck, be it on television commercials or in real life. But how much do you really know about this iconic piece of marketing genius? We take a closer look at some of the facts.
1. First appearances
The Coca Cola truck was first seen on television in 1995, although most of what was seen were merely special effects created by George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic. Yep, the very same company that created the special effects for the Star Wars movies. Hardly surprising then that the truck looked so impressive!
By 1998, viewers in over 100 countries had witnessed the big red truck on their screens.
2. Delivering a taste of Christmas to the UK
Although a very American vision, the Coca-Cola truck now visits more than 40 locations up and down the UK every year.
Due to overwhelming popularity, two trucks were used for the first time in 2015 – one starting in the South and one which began its journey in the North.
3. The magic of Christmas
Christmas has long been associated with magic – but Coca Cola has worked a little of their own too to make their annual Christmas advert even more impressive.
The 1999 television advert showed a huge fleet of red trucks driving along; in reality, however, just three trucks were used during filming. Special effects were deployed to make viewers believe that there were hundreds of Coca-Cola trucks.
4. The truck in numbers
In 2013, the hashtag #HolidaysAreComing was tweeted more than 57 million times, while around two million people visited the Coca-Cola website to find out where the truck would be stopping.
In fact, the viral popularity of the truck has also helped good causes. When a certain Matt Smith announced that he wanted to drive the truck to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis, his posts on social media went viral within hours, Coca-Cola noticed his messages and invited him to drive the iconic red truck, making him the first member of the public to do so.
5. Creating Santa
Lights aside, the main feature on the Coca Cola truck is Santa, who can be clearly seen either drinking Coca-Cola or holding a bottle of the drink as the vehicle tours the country.
This familiar version of Santa was created by Haddon Hubbard “Sunny” Sundblom, an American artist of Finnish and Swedish descent who created the modern image of Santa for The Coca-Cola Company. His friend Lou Prentice was the original model for the illustrator’s interpretation of Santa.
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