Ahead of the Christmas season our planning and creative teams seem to have spent a little too much time thinking about Brand Santa. Here’s their thinking, straight off the white board.
Brief Santa. Develop a symbol that transcends social class, geography and time. As a character he should embody tradition, as a brand he should be fuelled by sentiment. As a celebrity he should enjoy freedom from the press. And as an icon, other brands should want to associate themselves with him.
So is it even possible to answer such a brief today and create brand Santa? Would he need to be endorsed by Disney before gaining popular appeal? How could he ever evoke the same feelings in people’s hearts and minds? What would be his brand proposition?
We’d probably have to start with research and take Concept Santa along to a few focus groups. Parents would no doubt be the first stumbling block. An overweight elderly man breaking and entering childrens’ bedrooms is a hard sell at the best of times.
But assuming we worked that out with a compelling and moral proposition. We know our target audience, we know our mums and dads. We know bribery for good behaviour is sure to be a winning feature and benefit.
It’s probably around this time that the issue of budget should be discussed. Is Santa not for profit? Product brand association is probably essential and most likely inevitable. In the jolly season it’s all about cut through.
A facebook page, twitter account and general social media groundswell is an easy sell, after all look at the Queen, with more than 300 thousand followers?
Advertising, sponsorship, PR, and a fully integrated channel plan. Creatively, he is the big idea, so perhaps a few Wikipedia entries to help form his past?
Not convinced? Well today he would be a pretty hard concept to bring to life, and an even harder one to sell. Testament to the generations of family effort and commercial investment that has gone in to shaping him. Put a brief out to launch a middle aged fat man that the world will love, and most agencies would run a mile. But then again we did get Homer Simpson.