Polar bears
Coca-Cola character
A polar bear costume at World of Coca-Cola
First appearance
  • Northern Lights
  • 1993
Created byKen Stewart

The Coca-Cola polar bears are fictional polar bears used as the mascots for the Coca-Cola Company. The animated characters have been a popular element in Coca-Cola advertising since 1993, and the company sells merchandise, such as tumblers and plush versions of the bears.


The Coca-Cola Company first used a polar bear in a 1922 French advertisement depicting a bear squirting Coca-Cola into the mouth of a thirsty anthropomorphized sun. However, the use of the characters was sporadic until 1993. That year, the Coca-Cola polar bears appeared in an animated film called Northern Lights where they gathered to drink Coca-Cola and watch the Aurora Borealis, which was successful with consumers.[1][2] The use of polar bears in the 1993 ad campaign was, according to creator Ken Stewart, inspired by his labrador retriever dog which resembled a polar bear.[3] The polar bear has since become "one of the most popular symbols of Coca-Cola."[4] Following the success of Northern Lights, the Coca-Cola Company has produced many more commercials and films with anthropomorphic polar bears, as well as products such as tumblers and plush bears.[1]

Winning an injunction

In 1995, the Coca-Cola Company won an injunction against the Polar Corporation, a family-run soft-drink company, for running an advertisement in which a polar bear threw away a can of Coca-Cola. The court ruled that the Polar Corporation could continue to use the polar bear character, but that it could not show it throwing away Coca-Cola.[5]

Super Bowl campaign

In 2012, the Coca-Cola Company created a live advertising campaign that had polar bears react to the Super Bowl, which was described as "a brilliant marketing move".[6]


In 2011, the Coca-Cola Company pledged to donate two-million U.S. dollars to the World Wildlife Fund to protect polar bears, but has been criticised for giving such a relatively small amount of money compared to their advertising budget and profits.[1]

In 2011, the company changed its drink cans from red to white with images of polar bears for the Holiday season, but consumers protested the change. The Coca-Cola Company reverted the change after one month.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Should the Polar Bear Still Sell Coca-Cola?". The New Yorker. 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  2. ^ Elliott, Stuart (1993-07-07). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: Advertising; Coke takes a bearish approach to its new winter campaign". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  3. ^ "Coca-Cola's Polar Bears - News & Articles". The Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  4. ^ "Coca-Cola Polar Bear". www.worldofcoca-cola.com. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  5. ^ "Ruling Revises Polar Bear Ad". The New York Times. 1995-01-03. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  6. ^ Stampler, Laura. "Coca-Cola's Super Bowl Social Media Touchdown: Polar Bears Will React To Game And Ads Live". Business Insider. Retrieved 2022-11-30.
  7. ^ Bhasin, Kim. "People Are So Outraged At Coca-Cola's Holiday Cans That It's Abandoning Them After Just One Month". Business Insider. Retrieved 2022-12-01.