As Mr Claus’ communications adviser, how would you help him to boost his personal brand?: With the world becoming more cynical and children growing up faster than ever, Santa is struggling to stay relevant. In fact, some people don’t even believe he exists.
Crisis management is nothing new – but it has evolved: Each month, we’ll be delving into history and asking you to apply modern day communications wisdom to an olden day crisis.
Nancy Prendergast, Tannissan Mae Communications
“We’d recommend Father Christmas go green. Long a pioneer in low-carbon travel, Father Christmas could establish further green credentials by instituting a carbon offset programme at his busy toy workshop; encouraging parents to stuff stockings of naughty children with low energy lightbulbs instead of coal; offering a faster turnaround to children who send in their Christmas wish list by email – or better yet direct to his Facebook fan page; and consider setting up regional operations to reduce ‘gift miles’ and use more local talent. Dare we suggest a ‘green suit’ to drive the new positioning home?”
Tim Collins, St Luke’s
In many cultural traditions, Saint Nicholas traditionally appeared with a counterpart who would punish naughty children who didn’t deserve presents. The Netherlands had Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), Germany had an incubus demon called Krampus, and in the Czech Republic, they even went as far as to appoint the Devil as Santa’s companion. I think we should bring all of these badass sidekicks back to scare today’s children into being good. Rather than a genial old man on a sleigh, Saint Nicholas would become the head of a merciless and vengeful gang known as the Santa Crew. If the promise of an extra Guitar Hero controller from Santa doesn’t encourage today’s kids to behave, maybe the threat of supernatural punishment from Krampus or Zwarte Piet will.
Kim Einhorn, Theme Traders
As Santa Claus’s adviser I would recommend that he decided what name to use and promote that. Kriss Kringle, Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas all dilute his brand dramatically. As a 4th century bishop who specialised in holding feasts for children on 6th December, he has wandered a long way. Changing the date as well to 25th December probably did not help!
Take away the link between companies’ financial situations, where the first thing to go is the Christmas party, and start promoting Christmas as a time for unity, family, team building and the time to strengthen bonds, while having a good time, rather than a time to review the financial world in all its doom and gloom. Consider office transformations for this special time with a few wonderful Christmas props – the smile the party brings its guests will leave Santa in our minds forever.”
Rupert Summers, MiniPal Comms
For someone who has pioneered a way of distributing presents to every child on earth in 24 hours, Santa shows a surprising lack of innovation. Can’t he see he needs to carve a clearer niche? The avuncular-old-man-with-white-hair-and-beard space is already too crowded with God Almighty, Gandalf, Papa Smurf and Captain Birdseye all jostling for position there.
My advice? Shave.