The Coca-Cola Company is known for creating iconic advertisement. Around the holiday season, the image of Santa Claus comes to mind. You can read all about Coke’s history with the man in red here. Another cold weather favorite are the Coca-Cola Polar Bears.
The polar bear showed up in Coca-Cola advertising decades before the computer-animated version that we’ve come to know and love. Back in 1922, a French ad features a white bear sitting atop a mountain of ice aiming a splash of Coca-Cola directly into the mouth of a hot sun. Bottles of Coke cool on the ice beside it. Different variations of the Arctic resident would show up in Coca-Cola advertisements for the next 70 years.
The Coca-Cola Polar Bears as we know them were introduced as part of the “Always Coca-Cola Campaign.” The 1993 television ad titled “Northern Lights” was the first to feature the scarf-wearing bears. That initial ad was inspired by the idea of drinking Coke at the movies. Rather than seeing a film, the polar bears sit back to watch the aurora borealis while they enjoy ice-cold Coca-Cola.
The bears were an immediate hit, appearing in more commercials. In two notable spots, the bears show up in an Olympics ad and a commercial that saw the polar bear family selecting their Christmas tree. These 30-second commercials took 12 weeks to produce, even with what were then state-of-the-art graphics.
Since that first “Northern Lights” commercial in 1993, the Coca-Cola Polar Bears went on to earn a spot on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2011. The next year, Ridley Scott produced an award-winning film about them. This seven-minute short film features a pre-Hamilton-fame Lin-Manuel Miranda and Armie Hammer, among others.
Who doesn’t love those adorable Coca-Cola Polar Bears? Who wouldn’t want to have one of their very own? Good news. You can. The icons appear as plush animals, ornaments, bottle mini-hoodies, key chains, phone cases, mugs and much more. You can view the merchandise here.