THE DEBUNKER On May 8, 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, two men tried to mix up a batch of a new pain reliever for their pharmacy. The result was so delicious they marketed it as a soft drink instead, and Coca-Cola was born. Coke turned 133 years old this month, but any brand that's been so beloved for so long is liable to accumulate its share of folklore. Take a brief, refreshing pause to correct your carbonated conjectures about Coke with Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings.
The Debunker: Did Coca-Cola Advertising Create the Modern Santa Claus?
Maybe it's the red-and-white suit? Trivia types often bandy about the "little-known fact" that Santa Claus, the jolly symbol of Christmas giving, is not a figure of folklore at all, but was dreamed up in a series of midcentury holiday ads for Coca-Cola. Is Santa really just a soda pop pitchman? Even the Coke website wants you to believe this. "Coca-Cola did help to create the modern-day image of Santa," it boasts, "and in fact the way most of us see Santa Claus – friendly and plump with a white beard – did come from Coca-Cola advertising."