Coca-Cola’s first white polar bear print advertisement appeared in France in 1922, and for the next 70 years, white polar bears appeared sporadically in print advertising. In 1993, The Coca-Cola Company made a dramatic shift in its advertising by introducing the “Always Coca-Cola” campaign. The campaign by Creative Artists Agency and later Edge Creative was diverse in nature, with an initial run of 27 commercials designed to appeal to specific audiences. The ads ran around the world and included a variety of innovative technical approaches, such as computer animation.
One such commercial, “Northern Lights,” introduced what would become one of the most popular symbols of Coca-Cola advertising, the animated coca cola polar bear.
When asked to develop an innovative commercial for Coca-Cola, creator Ken Stewart thought about drinking Coke at the movies. As a puppy, Mr. Stewart’s Labrador Retriever had resembled a polar bear. Mr. Stewart saw his dog, thought about polar bears and how they would go to the movies, and the idea for “Northern Lights” was born. In the commercial, the polar bears watch the aurora borealis (the “movie”) and drink from bottles of Coca-Cola.