When you think of Santa Claus, we're willing to bet that words like "jolly," "bearded," and "rosy-cheeked" come to mind. After all, that's the image of Santa many of us -- regardless of age -- have grown to know and love, right?
The mall Santa that our parents forced us to take an annual photo with (despite the trauma it caused). The Santa we watched Tim Allen transform into in the first installment of The Santa Clause trilogy. And the Santa we've seen used in countless holiday advertisements -- from Coca-Cola to Kodak.
Below, we've put together a festive timeline of Santa-inspired print and video ads, dating back to the early 1900s. Check 'em out to see how different companies over the past century have used Santa Claus to sell more products.
24 Jolly Advertisements Starring Santa Claus Throughout History
This sinister-looking Santa Claus is shown smoking a cigarette in this vintage advertisement ... but it's not just any cigarette. According to the ad copy, Murad's Turkish Cigarettes are what all the "grown-ups" are choosing for Christmas.
In this holiday advertisement from Bell Telephone Systems, a phone-shaped Santa Claus is shown "ringing in the holidays." It's not directly selling a product, though -- the ad aims to send Bell Telephone System's warm wishes to its customers.
In this late 1940s advertisement, Santa is shown piloting an airplane to deliver magazine subscriptions to all. The plane is embellished with various headlines, and the ad copy highlights their "special Christmas rates."
I don't know about you, but I've always loved Coca-Cola's warm, jolly portrayal of Santa Claus. This classic Coca-Cola ad features Santa Claus enjoying a "gift for his thirst" while he takes a break and puts down his sack of toys.
In this 1977 ad for old-fashioned holiday cookies, Santa Claus is shown spending some quality, fireside time with the Quaker Oats man himself. If you look closely, you'll also notice a curious child trying to sneak a peek from behind the chair.
Santa? A criminal? This advertisement pokes fun at Santa's "breaking and entering" skills while highlighting the security of the company's burglar-proof movement detectors.
21) 2011: Pepsi
This Pepsi commercial pokes fun at Santa Claus' well-known Coca-Cola advertisements by showing him sneaking a Pepsi on vacation in his red and white Hawaiian shirt.
22) 2011: iPhone
Santa shows off his tech-savvy side as he communicates with Siri in this amusing commercial for the iPhone 4S.
23) 2013: Chevrolet
Even when cleverly disguised as a car salesman, it's easy to pick Santa out in a crowd. This ad pokes fun at the interaction this potential car buyer has when he realizes that he just might be buying a car from Santa himself.
24) 2015: Reddi-Wip
This quick-witted Reddi-Wip commercial shows a dad spraying on a whipped cream beard to disguise himself after being caught in the act by his son. Turns out his son is not buying it, as the real Santa Claus is standing right behind him.
What's your favorite advertisement? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Originally published Dec 24, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017