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The Santa Red Conspiracy

WARNING: Reader discretion is advised for this installment of Thinking Color, believers in Santa Claus as well as small children are advised to stop reading immediately. Continuing to read from this point on could result in massive psychological damage and/or a drastically altered world view.

The holiday season is upon us, and as always during this time of year old Saint Nick has become omnipresent in our daily lives. Santa Claus has been a cultural cornerstone of the Christmas season for decades now. However, research conducted by Thinking Color has found this beloved character at the center of a color conspiracy.


Santa, as we know him in his modern form, was originally created by renowned cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1866. This character would be familiar to all of us except for one colorful detail, the original Santa sported a green suit. It is the story of how Santa’s suit went from green to red that has some smelling a conspiracy.


Santa’s red coat is iconic and is not just any shade of red, the RGB value for this particular hue is 254, 0, 26. Not only are these values the most commonly used for santa they are also known by another name, Coca-Cola red. This coincidence has some dark corners of the internet claiming that the beloved spirit of christmas is nothing more than a subliminal soda-selling marketing ploy.


It is true that swedish cartoonist, Haddon Sundblom, built on Nast’s work while creating an advert for coke in 1931. He added the red suit in Coca-Cola red and some minor details fully completing the Santa we know today.  However, lesser known advertisers and cartoonists were using a similar shade of red for the suit as far back as the 1920’s. It is suggested that the immense popularity of the Coca-Cola advert is what cemented this version of Santa as the most common rather than a corporate conspiracy.

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