Everyone knows it’s not truly the start of the festive season until we see the iconic Coca-Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’ Christmas advert return to our screens. The sight of those bright red trucks and the ring of the timeless jingle is enough to bring festive cheer to even the iciest of hearts.
There’s a reason it’s captured the public’s imagination for the last 28 years, hitting viewers with a wave of nostalgia every time we see it.
As the festive season rolls around once again, we’ve unearthed eight facts you never knew about the famous advert…
The Coca Cola Christmas truck was first seen in 1995
The Coca Cola Christmas truck first arrived on screens in the winter of 1995. They were created by an agency called W.B. Doner as part of a new seasonal campaign, and were known as ’Christmas Caravans’.
The real trucks were very, very bright
In the original advert, the three trucks were 40-foot, two tonnes and each had more than 30,000 bulbs, according to Coke.
It has a surprising connection to Star Wars
The illuminated lorries in the original advert were lit up with the help of special effects by the company Industrial Light and Magic, which is also the team behind the Star Wars films and owned by George Lucas himself.
Special effects helped make the ad even more impressive
In 1999, Coke debuted its ‘Journey’ version of the advert featuring a snaking fleet of red trucks. It was filmed in snowy Vancouver, Canada, and actually only used three lorries, but with the help of CGI, it was turned into a long line of trucks as far as the eye can see.
It can actually boost the mood of over half of Brits
According to a recent study conducted on behalf of Coke, over half of Brits admit that the Coke Christmas ad has the power to change their mood. Alongside that, 30 per cent feel nostalgic watching it, and 67 per cent find the famous jingle gets stuck in their heads.
The trucks didn’t become real until 2001
In 2001, the Coke trucks were no longer just an ad – they came to life and embarked on a real tour of the US.
“Christmas is a family season, and that’s what the spirit of the ‘Caravan’ ads is,” said Ted Ryan, Coca‑Cola’s former chief archivist. “As soon as the physical trucks began to visit communities it made the ads resonate a little bit more.”
The UK, however, didn’t get its own visit from the trucks until 2010.
In the same year, an single based on the jingle was released
In 201, singer Melaine Thornton recorded a full-length version of the jingle, entitled Wonderful Dream (Holidays Are Coming).
Upon its release, it reached number three in Germany, selling a million copies.
Coke once stopped making the ad but it was brought by back due to demand
Coca-Cola actually replaced the ad between 2001 to 2007 with different campaigns, but it was quickly brought back due to popular demand.
Apparently many people even made calls to its customer information centre to insist that it marked the beginning of Christmas for them.
A professional truck driver was the first member of the public to ever drive the vehicle
Who wouldn’t want to get behind the wheel of the Coke truck? That’s what Matt Smith, a professional truck driver from Andover, got to do in 2015. He did it to raise money for cystic fibrosis and became the first member of the public to ever drive the iconic vehicle.
“It really was a dream come true to get behind the wheel of one of the most iconic trucks in the world and I couldn’t stop smiling,” he said.