The Christmas Coca-Cola Ad Has Hit Our Screens, But Not Everyone Is Happy

 "Coca Cola Truck at Cheshire Oaks" by W_Minshull is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As the cold of winter sets in and the accustomed disappointment of a British summer becomes just a distant memory, the classic telltale signs of Christmas begin to flood our television screens and online media alike.

Whilst brands battle it out with their novelty Christmas ads such as John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and others; there is still one brand and piece of advertising that will always remain synonymous with Christmas and officially signifies the beginning of the time of the year: Coca-Cola.

You hear the twinkling of lights, jingle-bells, and a distant beat. Then a fleet of the red, glowing trucks make their way through a snowy landscape, over hills, through trees and into towns. This is when you officially know that as the song reminds you constantly in its lyrics, ‘Holidays are coming!’


First launched on our TV screens in 1995, the beloved Coca-Cola adverts have been iconic Christmas adverts ever since.

This year’s addition hit our screens on Saturday night. The ad rarely changes year-on-year which enhances its nostalgic value, which arguably is the key behind its success. This year’s ad also encouraged people to use the hashtag #HolidaysareComing to further promote the best-loved Christmas reminder of all time being ‘finally’ here.

However. health campaigners were disappointed to learn that this year for the first time, the giant beverage corporation plans to send the iconic red twinkling lorry on tour to 44 towns and cities across Britain. As part of the tour they hope to drum a festival-type atmosphere, for families to attend much like they would a Santa’s grotto. However, instead of handing out toys and gifts for children, they’ll be handing out free Coca-Cola products as part of the campaign’s activation.

Marketing director for Coca-Cola Great Britain said, “Coca-Cola is synonymous with the Christmas season and it’s no secret that our much-loved Christmas Truck Tour marks the unofficial countdown to Christmas.” However, didn’t comment on the inevitable impending negativity about handing out unhealthy drinks for free to children.

The Sunday Times aptly reported the hypocrisy of the whole thing. Councils were handed responsibility for public health in 2013 (previously the domain of the NHS), calling for bans and reduction of unhealthy food advertising near schools. However, since its announcement have been promoting the lorry tour.

Harlow, Essex for example wrote about the ‘incredible’ experience and encouraging families to ‘soak up the festive spirit with season music [and] a fee Coca-Cola’.

Also in Essex, Southend-on-Sea have promoted the event saying, “For many, Christmas doesn’t start until the Coca-Cola Christmas truck appears on television screens and in our towns.”

Simon Capewell, vice-president of the Faculty of Public Health charity tweeted:

Aside from the hypocrisy and controversial lorry tour, people spotted one major flaw with the ad. Maybe an oversight by Coca-Cola or they were unaware of its importance, but they’ve removed the animated Santa winking at a child and then taking a big gulp from a Coke bottle.

If you skip to 56 seconds, you’ll see what people are talking about:

Ultimately, whilst incontrovertibly the holidays are coming and tis the season, have Coca-Cola and the beloved iconic advert been unexpectedly put on the naughty list?


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