One of the many gorgeous images that adorn our TV screens at Christmas time are the polar bears from Coca Cola’s Arctic Home commercials.
Many people will think this is just a branding exercise to encourage consumers to buy their soda, however the relationship goes much deeper.
The Coca-Cola Company’s love for the polar bear goes back decades.
Polar bears were first introduced in the company’s print advertising in 1922 and today they remain one of its most lovable icons.
Since 2007, Coca-Cola has supported World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Arctic research and conservation efforts. As part of this initiative, Coca-Cola has created Arctic Home, the biggest effort to date to help protect the polar bear and its habitat.
Coca-Cola has committed $2 million over the next five years and has raised over $1.8 million to date in consumer and matched donations for the project.
One of the increasing threats to the polar bear is the decreasing ice in the Arctic summers. Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting, mating, and transportation. The amount of summer ice loss in the Arctic now equals a huge area - the size of Alaska, Texas, and the state of Washington combined.
Record losses of summer sea ice have been measured in the last few years. The larger areas of open water absorb more radiation from the sun, leading to later freeze-up times, which in turn leads to less ice formation. Scientists are now projecting that Arctic summer sea ice will have virtually disappeared within a generation.
Without sea ice the polar bears will become extinct. Could you imagine your grandchildren thinking this powerful and creature is just a pretty image on an old can or nothing more than a stuffed toy.
Industrial development in the Arctic could impact the polar bear and its prey by fragmenting and disturbing its habitat and by introducing oil and other toxic substances to the environment. Contact with oil spills, for example, can reduce the insulating effect of the bear’s fur and can be fatal to bears if consumed through grooming.
Coca Cola along with WWF is working to lessen this impact and increase our awareness through the use of these animals in their advertisements each holiday season. To help them not become a fading memory you can donate at Arctichome.com.