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Stinging Insects, Mustachioed Hens & The 12 Cokes Of Christmas

December 23, 2015

When does an illustrator get really excited?

When Coca-Cola Journey Editor Jay Moye sends him a Charles McNair essay to illustrate– that’s when.

It was called The 12 Cokes Of Christmas (& The Holidays), and I was grinning even before I started reading it.

Turns out the beautiful Frazier fir had a hidden insect nest. Then three mustachioed hens wearing berets showed up. There was a guy in a smelly reindeer suit, a sack of prunes for Aunt Plushbottom, and some Alabama carolers who insisted on singing Free Bird instead of White Christmas.

Here’s the final:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Reindeer costume tied to Christmas tree hens laying eggs spraying for bugs rescue squad drinking Coca-Cola using hose to clean maple syrup sardine Santa trap off floor Alabama couple caroling singing Free Bird outside windowblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

The tree winds up getting decorated for all the holidays (hearts, shamrocks, groundhogs). There’s also a cat eating turkey sandwiches and dill pickles. Um, I’ll explain those things hanging on the fireplace in a minute…blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Guy in reindeer suit tied to Christmas tree with ribbon hens laying eggs on fireplace mantel spraying for bugsblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

There’s trouble, of course, and the fire department is called. They’re rewarded with ice-cold Cokes, and rightly so…blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Rescue squad fireman drinking Coca-Cola using hose to clean maple syrup sardine Santa trap off floor in front of fireplace Alabama couple caroling singing Free Bird outside windowblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

On the 6th day, the story’s rowdy protagonists build a “Santa trap” in front of the fireplace. They build it out of mattress coils and brassieres, among other things, and a big sticky pool of maple syrup. They bait the trap with an ice-cold Coke and a can of sardines.

The funniest part is when, later on, they come home hungry, and fall into their own trap– hence, the call to the fire department. Someone also calls a taxi. The illustrator looked at the remaining space he had to work with, and decided to make it a toy taxi. Good call, illustrator.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Santa trap in front of fireplace made with bras, mattress coil springs, maple syrup, baited with sardines, Coca-Cola plus little wind-up toy taxi carblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

My previous post dealt with Car-Freshener Corporation and its rather humorless, overprotective approach to its brand (those little pine tree car air fresheners).

By contrast, Coca-Cola isn’t afraid to have fun with its brand. By embracing humor, the company comes across as strong and confident. It’s an attractive image– and that’s a great advantage today, when brands are shaped by what people tweet and post and say about them on social media sites.

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Have you ever gone online and posted something good or bad about a company?

You want some Christmas mood music. Who do you go with: Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bing Crosby?

Have you ever seen a partridge in a pear tree? Did you call the fire department??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Did The Animals Really Talk On Christmas Eve? No, They Jammed!

Busker’s Christmas Carol: Miser Beware!

Illustrator Decorates His Tree, Wishes Everyone A Merry Christmas!
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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact informationblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2015 11:07 AM

    ers grande amigo feliz navidad desde colombia ,ora por nosotros amigo


    • December 23, 2015 4:12 PM

      Merry Christmas, my friend. I wish you peace and every happiness in the new year. And yes, I will keep you in my prayers.

      I’m so very sorry about the dreadful mistake at the Miss Universe Pageant. So painful and embarrassing. But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. I’ve just read about Miss Colombia’s response to what happened. No one could have been more gracious, or shown more class under such circumstances. And that is what many people will now associate with Colombia.

      Feliz Navidad, amigo mío. Les deseo paz y toda la felicidad en el nuevo año. Y sí, yo te tenga en mis oraciones.

      Estoy muy mucho lo de la terrible error en el concurso de Miss Universo. Así doloroso y vergonzoso. Pero hay un lado positivo a esta nube oscura. Acabo de leer acerca de la respuesta de la señorita Colombia a lo que sucedió. Nadie podría haber sido más amable, o se muestra más clase en tales circunstancias. Y eso es lo que mucha gente ahora asociarán con Colombia.


      • January 4, 2016 3:31 PM

        sabemos del lamentable error y somos convencidos de que tenemos reina y tambien de que las otras lo son …amigo gracias por tenerme en tus oraciones ,yo te llevare en las mias y a todos nos ira bien gracias al poder celestial.


  2. December 23, 2015 5:44 PM

    Wishing Happy Holidays to a fantastic Holiday Humorist and funny man even when there are no holidays 🙂
    This of course, was a grand and festive post that made my smile widen more than the door frame I wish I’d had when I moved my kiddies gifts from the car to the closet (hiding of course, they’re never too old).
    Ah, the Coke Company – responsible for the red in Santa’s red – they must have humor just be’clause;)
    I extend to you, Mark – warm and fuzzy wishes for a faux fur fabulous 2016
    I hope you do get some time to put the ink down and relax and enjoy a yuletide log or two.
    Merry Christmas, my friend.


    • December 24, 2015 7:34 PM

      Blush, blush, blush!! Thank you, dear A-M! If Rudolph’s nose burned as brightly as my cheeks right now, he’d be indicted for global warming, poor old deer… : )

      A smile wider than a doorframe?? Zounds! Now I know what to get you for Christmas– toothpaste! That’s a lotta choppers we’re talkin’ here… : )

      I’m afraid Coca-Cola doesn’t get credit for puttin’ the red in Santa’s suit, but they do get credit for most of his modern-day image. More accurately, the illustrator they hired gets credit. (Funny how illustrators are always the heroes, eh??) His name was Haddon Sundblom, and you can read about him and the Coke-Santa connection in this Coca-Cola Journey post.

      A faux fur fabulous 2016?? Gee, thanks! I may hafta go out and buy a bowling shirt to go with it… : )

      Wishing you a a very Merry Christmas, AnnMarie, and a new year filled with an upright piano and all good things. You’re a superb poet, a wonderful artist, and ’tis a pleasure to know ye!! : )


      • December 27, 2015 8:04 AM

        All my knowledge from the Coke/Santa connection is from the Xmas Bathroom Reader (’tis where I get all my holiday knowledge;)).- thanks to you, dearest Mark I now know better:)
        I thank you for your most generous words – now I’m the one blushing:)
        Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year!!!


        • January 2, 2016 3:00 PM

          I have a Bathroom Reader, too! I’m sorry to say, however, that mine always seems to be blank. It’s round, right, and hangs on a little roller? Yeah, that’s the one I’m talking about. I replace it fairly regularly, but it’s always the same: one blank page after another. Maybe it’s time to shop at a different bookstore… : )

          My “generous words” are the simple truth. Thanks for sharing your gifts, dear AnnMarie. I’m glad I know you. Wishing you the happiest of new years!! : )


        • January 2, 2016 6:45 PM

          I see we’re beginning 2016 on a roll;)
          I thank you too, Mark – your creative talents are boundless as is your wonderful humor (see there, I was going to say potty humor for this specific comment but flushed the idea;))
          Wishing a fabulous 2016 to my comical friend. Glad to know you as well – I’m grinning even as I write this:)


        • January 3, 2016 6:01 PM

          On a roll… ker-SPLASH!! 💦🚽

          My humor sometimes goes to pot, other times to potty. What’s the difference? Negligible is what the difference is… 😕

          Thank you for all the flushes, dear AM, including my cheeks => 😊

          I anticipate a truly fab 2016, especially on those days when I visit your blog… 🎉🎊🎈✨😊


        • January 4, 2016 3:41 PM

          Let that 2016 ball roll, Mark – we’re in for a wild wordy ride;)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. December 23, 2015 6:22 PM

    I’m so glad I ordered that army [👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽]
    to go fetch you… I truly am!!!!!! 🙂
    I’ll just leave it at that as words are just not enough to describe how ‘out of this world’ your work is, Master Mark! 🙂


    • December 24, 2015 8:00 PM

      When I saw that army of moon men coming, my head got so inflated, I floated up into another solar system!! Luckily they were able to track me down by following the long trail of green cheese bits and lunar cracker crumbs… 👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽👽🍀⛳️🍞🍞🍞🍞🍩🍪🍞🍞🍞🍞=>😴😊

      👽👽: ®≈™£¢§§†¥ˆ¥–πø¬˚∆¥¶§ƒ®´√ç∂∑👑😊? (“Where do you wish to go, King-Master?”)

      👑😊: “Mt. Olympus!”

      👽👽: ≤¬º–§∆∂©∑œ™¡∆∫ç®˙∆¬ˆ†´≈Ω¡≠–“÷æ♻️‼️ (“Not again!!”)

      Thank you, dear Marina! May your Christmas be filled with joy, laughter, and lots of figgy pudding!! 🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨😋🚑

      Liked by 1 person

  4. December 23, 2015 7:26 PM

    Wonderful illustrations! You managed to cram so much humour into every square millimeter.

    As to your questions, I’m a fan of Nat King Cole’s “O Holy Night” when it comes to Christmas tunes. I’ve seen many partridges; I’ve been in several pear orchards; I’ve never seen the two combined.


    • December 24, 2015 8:34 PM

      Thanks, Laura! I hate to see good space go to waste, especially when there’s always one more joke! (Actually, I’m a big proponent of white space in drawings, but like any good artist, I try to stay flexible and… “adapt”… : )

      “O Holy Night”– yes, indeed. I have Nat King Cole’s Christmas album– excellent. No partridge-pear combo yet?? Courage!– 2016 could be the year… : )

      Liked by 1 person


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