Santa Claus... Yes, it’s true that the modern image of Santa is from the Coca Cola Company.
Originally, in 1822, Santa was just a poem published in the NY Book of Poetry and the character was the size of an elf (i.e., “...a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer”) because he had to go down chimneys. This character wore bright colored clothes.
Over the years different people drew different versions of this character. But no single version ever really connected with people.
Then in the 1920s Coke was looking to attach something to the line “thirst has no season.” Coke’s agency, D’Arcy, created their version of the Santa character and showed him relaxing after present delivery with a Coke, getting left a Coke by kids, etc. And it was this version of Santa that people really liked. So over the years all other versions were “elbowed out” and people started using the red, white and jolly Santa. One might say D’Arcy added more magic and “worth” to a character that, otherwise, was a little more boring, creepy and obscure—tiny chimney dropping elfs and all.
Rudolph... When Disney released Bambi deers got popular in America. So the Coke artist added a deer with a red nose to some Santa Coke ads. Then a copywriter for Montgomery Ward saw that and wrote a song about the character which proved so popular with people that 2 million copies of the musical score were sent out in Montgomery Ward’s 1939 catalogue. And now we have Rudolph as part of the holiday.
Today, these two characters live on much bigger and entirely separate from the brands that created them, bringing joy to millions of people.
What’s the point here?
You can choose to look at all of this in two ways. On one hand you could view marketing as manipulative and perhaps even look down on consumers for being so dumb to accept such pre-packaged, capitalistic gimmicks into their lives.
Or, on the other hand, you could choose to look at it as proof that when a likeable idea comes along that makes people feel good it doesn’t matter where it comes from or who made it. Anyone with a good idea has permission to create something that becomes a part of our culture... And, like Santa and Rudolph, sometimes those ideas come from people who work in advertising.
From John’s Pinboard:
- Media Company, Carat, has released their now-celebrated 10 trends for the upcoming year once again. This one had 5k likes in just a few hours.
-Wonderful short Q&A with Zia Zareem-Slade, Customer Experience Director at Fortnum & Mason as she discusses collaboration within the creative process as one of the joys of our industry.
- Google’s annual Year In Search video is out. With help from agency 72andSunny the piece tells the audience, 'How to move forward? Search on.'
- Many if you may have used AOL instant messenger. On Friday they finally shut it down; Quartz did a nice piece on that.
- Couldn’t believe this video of the recent L.A. fires. This stretch of freeway is right in the city and I drove it all the time going to my then client, Baskin-Robbins.
- Before agreeing to serve on a non-profit board McKinsey advises to ask these four questions. I like the first one: Are we succumbing to mission creep?
- Local Ad spending is forecast to increase just over 5% next year in the US; the balance of spending is looking to be 65% traditional / 35% digital.
- Indeed, there might be two overall cultures: Merit vs. Brilliance.
- A cool piece on Quartz about the cassette tape and the little rise it’s having. In short, listening to a cassette is about having patience. And let's not forget this lovely quote from High Fidelity: “Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art...You’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.”
Have a great week,
“The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.”