American artist Haddon Sundblom was comissioned by the Coca-Cola company to render a Santa to be featured in a variety of advertising campaigns. The final version was designed in 1931 replaced the elf-like figure with a human form, the belly and beard survived as did the jolly nature. This depiction helped establish a "uniform" Santa character, prior to this his appearance and costume had varied from artist to artist. The modern version of Santa Claus was born.
Santa Claus is now exploited by numerous commercial ventures. He is also used to advantage by a number of non-profit, fund raising organizations. The commercial success of the North American Santa Claus is being exported around the world and it now threatens to overcome the European St. Nicholas, who has retained much of his identity as a Christian bishop and saint.