Over the years, Santa’s done the marketing rounds for almost every brand imaginable. From the Christmas classics (think Coca-Cola) to the slightly more obscure (Shoreway shopping centre, anyone?). And it must be said that his commercial appearances have, by and large, been something of a mixed bag. Which is to say that he’s appeared in some truly weird Christmas ads.

From cigarettes and alcohol to guns, it seems like Santa really took his time in settling on a long-term brand identity. Or maybe he just had a few rough years. Who knows. But whatever the case, jolly old St. Nick has been the subject of some bizarre, morally questionable, and often downright surreal advertising.

And with that said, below are a collection of some of his more off-kilter marketing efforts which, for us at least, completely missed the mark in terms of “spreading the Christmas spirit”.

You might note that some of the ads we’ve featured actually don’t feature Santa at all, but we thought they were just too good leave out.

So we hope you enjoy this unholy mix of outlandish Christmas marketing.

Arrow Shirts

How low would you stoop to sell a shirt or two? Well, in Arrow’s case, pretty low.  Santa-with-a-gun-to-his-face low. In all of its dark implications, this is truly the lowest and most harrowing point in Santa’s commercial career.



Because after a hard night of delivering joy to children everywhere, what’s better than sitting down with a nice cold beer and an un-plucked goose?





Santa really seems to like his Chesterfield’s. But which do you think is worse: soldier Santa or “ribbon-face mad-eyes Santa”?

Welch’s Sports

“Santa suggests: guns.” No, he absolutely didn’t.



The question is, why did mother also want the silencer?


Possibly the most unsettling aspect of this one is the fact that the gun’s just lying there under the tree, cold and unwrapped. Makes you wonder if it’s already loaded…


Lucky Strike

You’d think with all the cigarettes he seemingly gets through, Santa would have woken millions of children on Christmas Eve with his smoker’s cough.



“Shh. Don’t tell Mrs. Claus, kids. She thinks I still smoke Chesterfields.”


 There’s really nothing else to say at this point about Smoking Santa.

Pall Mall

See above.


What exactly is happening here? Did he shave off his hat? Also, would it kill him to run that razor over his knuckles just once?



Well, he might not have gone for the Remington, but he certainly went all-in on the Gillette, and we sincerely wish he hadn’t. This is not the best a man can get.



Because all any woman wants for Christmas is an ironing board…




…and a hoover. After all, mess never rests, not even at Christmas. Surely the only thing that would make her happier is if she got a hoover and an ironing board. That would be every mother’s dream Christmas.



What better gift to give your children? Even little Timmy gets one!



There are few things sadder than Santa endorsing a shopping centre. Maybe it’s why he smokes so many cigarettes. But this really is one of the sorriest forms of Kringle-exploitation around.



It’s unclear to us when exactly in the history of humankind matching family pyjamas were fashionable but, whatever the case, they certainly aren’t anymore.


‘Tis the season

For more season’s reading, why not take a look at Winter Marketing Tricks: Colours For Evoking Warmth, Empathy, And Affability, and The Great Big Jingle Quiz!