Some people say that Christmas is too commercial. I guess that's a fair judgement. For most kids, Christmas is about Barbies, Furbies, Pokémon, and other toys of the moment. It's about receiving more than giving, of ownership more than love. It's also about chocolate, candy, and pop. Television specials are well suited to enforcing this message: I mean, have you seen Cadbury's godawful animated special about "chocolate rabbit land" or somesuch. It's even generally accepted that our view of Santa Claus comes from decades of Coca-Cola advertisments. It's enough to believe that the holiday has become a completely corporate phenomenon.
But this sort of advertising - the formation of an unconscious link between Christmas and corporate branding - has been going on for some time. When it works, we don't see it at all. When it fails, however, it reveals the disgraceful nature of corporate branding in general.
Case in point: The 1987 Joyeux Noël Pepsi Canada coloring book. The origins of this document are unclear, but it seems to be a Quebec only phenomenon as it is written entirely in french. The copyright information states:
Ce livre est une exclusivité a Pepsi Canada et 7up Canada Ltée.
Tous droits réservés en tout ou en partie a Promotions D.M. Inc., Chicoutimi, P. Qué
This gives us an easy point of blame. The price "1,59$" appears on the cover suggesting someone had to pay for this thing, (probably my grandparents, bless 'em).
The corporate brainwashing occuring in the book boggles the mind. This thing is a Christmas coloring book, which is all fine and dandy except that every single on of its 30 or so images features bottles of Pepsi and/or 7up prominently in every frame, except maybe three or four pictures that feature the Pepsi and 7up logos. And yet despite this "sponsorship" this is a horribly drawn colouring book. The kids are equiped with large, round and completely soulless black eyes, seemingly disfigured limbs and moppish hair suggesting the artist was too lazy to try anything else. Other pages feature characters ripped off from other sources, for instance a wizard obviously copied from Merlin in Disney's The Sword in the Stone and a Santa Claus reminiscent of a Coke ad (hmm...). The only decently rendered objects are the bottles of Pepsi and 7up.
These bottles, by the way, are the centrepiece of every depicted scene. Santa Claus is drinking a Pepsi, the wizard is summoning cans of 7up. There's a melting snowman drinking 7up to cool off, a little girl with Diet Pepsi in her toy stroller with the baby doll sitting in the snow! There are kids staring at Pepsi logos, there are kids painting pictures of Pepsi bottles. There are Pepsi bottles by the fireplace near the hung stockings, and on the next page in the stockings. However, the creepiest thing by far has to be the Three Wise Men (of Biblical fame) bringing bottles of 7up to the baby Jesus!
This book, if given to the target audience could have severely warped an entire generation into associating Pepsi with Christmas. As I've said, this sort of thing has already happened, the the blatant attempt of this book is scary. I will cherish this book forever to remind me of the dangers of corporate brainwashing.
Incedentally, if any noders have seen or own copies of this book, please /msg me, as I want to know that I'm not hallucinating this thing.