DECEMBER 08, 2016

How Coca-Cola Shaped the Image of the Modern Santa Claus

It's a classic Christmas image; a jolly man in a red suit who chuckles into his big white beard and spreads Christmas joy. The simple mention of a Santa Claus brings a smile to the faces of children everywhere and ignites fond nostalgia for many today - and it seems unbelievable that Coca-Cola had the biggest hand in creating the modern-day image of Santa Claus. The history of Santa Claus, at least for nearly a hundred years, owes a lot to the Coca-Cola brand.

The Holiday season and the Coca-Cola brand seem very intertwined, as their adverts have become synonymous with Christmas. Coca-Cola began boosting their brand awareness during the 1920 Christmas season, where a very stern looking Santa Claus graced the page of the Saturday Evening Post. However, it wasn't until 1930 that American artist Haddon Sundblom painted the well-known image of a department-store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola for their advertisement campaigns.

In Coca-Cola's 1931 Christmas ad, Santa Claus was depicted as THE man himself, not as someone dressed as Santa. While a prevailing theory is that Coca-Cola dressed Santa Claus in red and white to fit with their brand and logo - the infamous white writing on a red background - the company claimed this to be untrue. From there, Coca-Cola kept going with the stories of Santa Claus, from handing out lavish toys and taking a break with a refreshing Coke to riding in a sleigh while sipping on a bottle of Coca-Cola. Ads even featured polar bears living next door to Santa Claus having a jolly time sliding down snow banks with a bottle of Coca-Cola.

While the artist who created the Santa Claus image for Coca-Cola painted his final version in 1964, Coca-Cola continues to create advertisements and spread Christmas cheer based on his depiction of the jolly man in the red suit, laughing into the night sky "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

OCTOBER 16, 2016

The Art Scene in Ottawa

Here in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, we’re proud of how modern design and art have leapt from the galleries walls into the realms of our daily lives. The city and its artists have added whimsical and practical art throughout every neighborhood. We can find art floating above us – like Nautilus by Paula Murray, with its delicate ceramic tiles suspended daintily over the entrance of City Hall – or we find it lighting up the city in unique ways, like TRANSPOtting, an installation that features 80 LED panels that light up based on the number of public buses rushing by.

Ottawa has proudly featured work by local artists like Charlynne Lafontaine and Ryan Lotecki, who were commissioned to design a series of practical yet delicate glass and aluminum additions for street lamps in the city’s China Town district. The project, titled Silk Road Flower Rain, features eight pieces with elements distinct to Chinese culture, such as chrysanthemums for good health, bamboo for longevity, and pomegranates to ward off evil.

In 2008, the city called upon its local artists to submit line drawings, which were then etched and cut from panels of stainless steel before being transformed into practical canvases for daily life, serving as functional bike racks. Over 26 local artists helped designed the city’s 90 racks that stretch across the downtown core.

As the city continues to grow and expand, the call for local artists to highlight the vibrancies of the capital is only increasing and making art more accessible to all of us. Whether a new street mural pops up on Rideau Street, or we’re treated to a new sculpture in Commissioners Park, the city will continue to surprise us in the most creative ways.

OCTOBER 16, 2016

4 Tips to Boost Your SEO

Whether you’re just building your first website or are managing a dozen, at some point you’ll come across Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO can be overwhelming at first and can leave you a bit lost in its terminology, but it is essentially a process to get your page higher up on search engines – making it more visible and easier to find. We’ve got four simple tips to help you get started and get your page noticed.

Keep that content up to date! This may seem like an obvious one, but by adding more unique content on a regular basis, it helps keep your site active and evolving. Ensure you’re using SEO techniques in everything being published and you’ll see quick results.

Be strategic with your keywords. While simple can be good, it is not always effective. A search word like “books” may be a basic keyword, but someone searching “buy first edition books” will be looking to purchase from your site. This ensures you’re not only getting good traffic, but traffic that intends on buying something.

Optimize those images! SEO doesn’t just apply to your content and formatting. Your work should be embedded with stunning images to make it eye catching, so use visual content to your advantage. Simply ensure that your images have the words “alt text” embedded in them, as search engines will be looking for that. You can make sure this is working when a box containing the words “alt text” appears as you hover your cursor over an image.

Videos, videos, and more videos. Creating video content is a great way of entertaining and captivating your audience. Since a vast majority of searches are for videos, and given that search engines like Google optimize a variety of media content, a video can skyrocket you to the top of the search.

While there is a lot of work to be done to ensure your SEO strategy is successful, these tips will benefit any style of website. The most important thing to remember is that SEO is constantly evolving; a strategy you make now may need to be refined in a few months. Your best trick to mastering SEO is to always keep learning about it as it evolves.

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