The holidays are no longer coming... they have arrived! Despite the fact that Halloween was just a few short days ago, almost everyplace you look is now 100% covered in glowing red and green lights. Complete with Bing Crosby playing quietly off in the background.
I'm totally alright with this. I live for Halloween but by the time the 31st is finished I really am ready to pack away the Halloween decorations and take a break from all things creepy and spooky... for at least a few months.
In the mean time... welcome to the 2013 Christmas Countdown! For this years theme I decided to pick one of my favorite holiday cartoons, The Year Without A Santa Claus! Featuring everyone's favorite sibling rivals the Heat Miser and Snow Miser!
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Now the real star of the show. 2013 Coca Cola Christmas Cans have arrived! ... and they feature polar bears again. At least this design does. You see Coke has something extra special planned for 2013, they are giving us three different designs this holiday season.
The first in the trio is the newly designed polar bear can featured above. For those not familiar with such events, allow me to act as your resident historian. In recent years Coke has turned the whole "polar bear" thing into a bit of an overblown fiasco.
It started innocently enough in 2011 with a partnership between Coke and the WWF (that would be the World Wildlife Fund and not Randy Savage). The idea was noble. Start a "Save the Polar Bears" campaign for that holiday season. Coke is famous for using them during its holiday commercials, and generally speaking tends to rotate its seasonal can designs between the bears and Santa Claus.
Clearly everyone's heart was in the right spot, unfortunately they made the mistake of releasing traditional Coca-Cola in an all white can that year. Which confused costumers into thinking it was actually Diet Coke instead of regular Coke. A statement I could not make up if I tried.
Coke very quickly tried to make amends by flipping the cans color scheme and releasing a second version with a red background and white bears. It was a serviceable fix to what shouldn't have really been an issue in the first place.
For the following year, 2012... everyone (myself included) expected Coke to distance itself as far as possible from the previous years slight mishap and release a joyfully new design with the return of Santa Claus.
Nope. Instead they stuck with the alternative red can from 2011. At this point it was safe to say that the Coke/WWF partnership was a disaster. Soda collectors like myself felt extremely let down that 2012 was a rehash of a failed design from the previous year.
Part of the joy in collecting these cans is getting something new and unique each and every season. Even if the white/red designs from 2011 wasn't exactly the best thing ever... it created enough of a controversy to become an interesting footnote in Cokes history. 2012 on the other hand was just flat out forgettable.
.... with the exception of the strange 7.5 oz cans that popped up roughly a week before Christmas that featured none other than Mr. Claus himself. But that can was a bit of an enigma in and upon itself. Why it was only ever released in a 7.5 oz can instead of the full sized variety I will never know. Yet another strange facet to the every growing complex narrative that has become these holiday cans.
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But I feel like once you really stop and take a look at this first design, one can grow to appreciate what we have sitting in front of us. This isn't some generic polar bear like the last two seasons... this is a return to the actual Coke bear mascot that everyone has grown accustomed to seeing.
This I am totally cool with! Clearly, Coca Cola is still rocking the WWF partnership but its been moved more into the background... instead of being the only thing featured on the artwork. Honestly, this is the way it should have always been.
That fact alone makes this first outing a massive improvement over the prior years efforts. You'll really only find the "please donate" stuff on one flap of the cardboard container. The can itself is free from any such slogans.
About the only thing missing is the yellow "Holiday 2013" text that used to be found on every seasonal can. Like I've stated previously, that might not be a big deal to the average consumer but to someone who collects these designs each and every year... the lack of such text is a pretty big bummer.
Overall though, I'd say we are off to a solid start. I've no idea what the other two designs are going to look like. Perhaps they are simply these same two bears, only in different poses. Maybe one of the cans will feature Santa Claus. Maybe it won't... at this point it is hard telling what exactly Coke has in store.
Either way I am looking forward to hunting down the next two designs! And am equally as excited to see what else the 2013 Christmas Season has in store!