A quick note from Sally:
In 2006, I jotted a list about Santa’s personal brand, as a lighthearted way to have fun at the holidays. Here, I updated the idea with a modern twist. Yet it seems I wasn’t clear that this is meant to be a playful, tongue-in-cheek approach to personal branding, rather than serious recommendations. Have fun with this post — and let’s keep Santa just the same.
Santa Claus has a fascinating personal brand.
But... could it be outdated?
What would happen if the Santa Claus marketing team hired an ad agency to update the Christmas brand?
Read on to find out which classic traditions are supposedly “improved” through modern marketing!
(Quick tip: Use these ideas as conversational nuggets for your holiday cocktail party!)
MEMO TO: The Santa Claus marketing team
Hello team, great to see you all at North Pole headquarters last week.
As promised, here are marketing ideas to improve Christmas marketing.
1. We need cooler jingles: Too many of our jingles (a.k.a. “Christmas carols”) are outdated.
Solution: Update content with fresher topics. For instance: “They grow up so fast. This Christmas at Home, Next Christmas Out on Their Own.”
2. Modernize spokesperson image: Parental groups are complaining that Santa is a poor role model, because of his obesity and pipe smoking.
Solution: Consider partnering with Weight Watchers for a “before/after” campaign with Santa.
3. Improve Santa’s Google search results: Consumers are searching online for Santa under too many different search terms (St. Nicolas, Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, etc.).
Solution: Focus all SEO on “Santa.” Cut jargon such as ‘Twas, ‘Tis, O’, and Yon.
4. Attract the Millennial demographic: We’re losing market share to competitors such as Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Christmas holds a leadership position with two billion consumers, but trending downward. To expand the Christmas brand, start by increasing appeal to unreached segments.
Solution: Introduce Redbull vodka-laced eggnog to attract more Millennials.
5. Avoid protests: Animal-rights bloggers could protest reindeer mistreatment, since our reindeer activity continues longer than 8 hours on Christmas Eve.
Solution: Check with the legal dept. and argue that overtime doesn’t count across multiple time zones.
6. Introduce a Santa sidekick: Other iconic characters have some sort of sidekick. For instance, Jolly Green Giant had Sprout. Scooby Doo had Scrappy Doo. Dr. Evil had Mini-Me.
Solution: What kind of lil’ sidekick can we cast with Santa? (Note: The media department says we could broaden demographic appeal by casting taller elves.)
7. Elf labor: Hourly employee overhead is rising.
Solution: No more written lists from kids or in-person appearances from Santa. The Christmas list database is going digital.
8. Merge with another holiday such as Winter Solstice: December calendar is too cluttered. We need to stand out!
Solution: Co-brand a holiday with Winter Solstice, so it’s a twofer holiday. (Do we have the budget to acquire New Year’s Eve?)
9. Christmas vs. Birthday: Santa is losing retail sales to birthday gifts throughout the year. This needs to stop.
Solution: Stir up some buzz by taking on the competition directly with a Mac vs. PC approach… Christmas vs. Birthday.
Thank you, Santa marketing team, for inviting us to share our ideas. Looking forward to your feedback next month at the annual retreat in Cancun.
Acme Marketing Company
Your turn! What holiday traditions do YOU think might be updated with modern marketing? Share your comments, below!
Marketers: 9 ways to make Santa's brand more fascinating http://bit.ly/1REo47S via @SallyHogshead (Click to tweet)
Christmas vs. Birthday: Who would win in a match to the death? Find out: http://bit.ly/1REo47S via @SallyHogshead (Click to tweet)
The ROI of Ho Ho Ho: See how marketers would rebrand Christmas http://bit.ly/1REo47S via @SallyHogshead (Click to tweet)