Pepsi is considering its cheekiest stunt yet to thwart its rival, Coca-
Cola - an advertising campaign in which Santa Claus swaps his
traditional red suit for a blue one.
It would be the most vicious swipe to date at Coke, which first dressed
Santa in red for an ad campaign more than 60 years ago.
Industry sources say Pepsi marketing chiefs are considering an extension
of this year’s pounds 300 million ‘blue’ campaign through a seasonal
theme by making a blue-clad Father Christmas its centrepiece.
Such a campaign would cause consternation at Coke, which is responsible
for creating the universally recognisable image of Santa Claus.
In 1931, Coke hired the artist, Haddon Sundblom, to produce an
illustration of Santa Claus in the company colours for an ad campaign.
Previously, he had been portrayed in many guises, from pixie to demon.
Speculation about the stunt comes in the wake of doubts about the
effectiveness of Pepsi’s huge revamp.
There have been suggestions that Project Blue has resulted in a slight
drop in Pepsi sales, while Coke claims to have outsmarted its rival
through its sponsorship of Euro 96.
Project Blue involved print ads through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in
which red objects, such as a Labour rosette and the ace of hearts, were
depicted in blue.
Pepsi-Cola International in New York, which orchestrated Project Blue,
denies any plans to turn Santa Claus blue, and Pepsi executives in the
UK say such a campaign is extremely unlikely.