Consumption, Coca-colonisation, Cultural Resistance – and Santa Claus

George McKay

in Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780748628087
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653065 | DOI:
Consumption, Coca-colonisation, Cultural Resistance – and Santa Claus

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This chapter reviews the ways in which iconic advertising figures like the Coca-Cola Santa and Rudolph generated appeal around the globe. It also presents key issues surrounding the Americanisation of Christmas, and shows how ‘external forms of American popular consumption have inscribed within them variously power, pleasure and fear’. Then, it examines the forms of political campaigning around the contestation of Christmas consumption and their development in recent years in the so-called ‘brand wars’, from Adbusters to the annual Buy Nothing Day, extended recently to the Buy Nothing Christmas Day campaign. Christmas, the season of both gift-giving and ‘intensive shopping’, was relatively rapidly recognised by store owners for its potential impact on increasing sales. The Christmas Coke adverts were intended to boost sales at the annual flagging time of the year. Mary Searle-Chatterjee suggests that the commercialism of contemporary Christmas is a major problem identified by many of its practitioners.

Keywords: Coca-Cola; Santa; Rudolph; Christmas; Americanisation; popular consumption; political campaigning; Adbusters; Buy Nothing Day

Chapter.  5687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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