New Holiday Ad Brings Famous Sundblom Santa to Life

  • November 19, 2001
For many centuries, Santa Claus has worked his magic during the holiday season, bringing smiles to the faces of people young and old. But this year, with brushes, paint, a pair of hands and a digital camera, a whole new type of magic will bring Santa, as we know him, to life. In 1931, The Coca-Cola Company commissioned artist Haddon Sundblom to create what became the first portrait of Santa Claus depicted the way we think of him today, with a long, white beard and a round belly. That portrait turns 70 this year, and to celebrate, Coca-Cola is creating the first animated commercial featuring Sundblom's version of Santa. With the help of Academy Award-winning animator Alexandre Petrov, the original portrait created by Sundblom will be transformed into an animated television advertisement. Petrov, who directed and animated "The Old Man and the Sea," won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in March 2000. To create the Sundblom Santa commercial, Petrov recreated and animated more than 700 oil paintings frame-by-frame, using brushes and his hands to create the masterpiece over the course of four months. The ad, which was created by McCann-Erickson, will debut November 22 during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast.

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