December 30, 2003 by Colin
Long tagged as a member of the Generation “X’ (voracious appetite for new ideas, short attention span, wanderlust, reluctance to wear a suit), I remember the wrenching evolution of the workplace in the late 80s and early 90s. Where my parents’ generation stuck with one profession or even one company for life, my friends and I were infinitely more flexible. Employers were now worried about the demographic crunch, our seeming lack of dedication to their mission statement, our explicit self-interest, and our apparent willingness to jump jobs on a day’s notice.
As we developed our generational and individual identities, a number of cultural touchstones emerged. Starbucks, unfortunately, has ruined the independent coffee shop experience for everyone. After the tech crash, Fast Company went from being four inches thick to just a regular magazine. And now, the late night Kinko’s run will likely change – FedEx has bought it for $2.4 billion.
Sure, the news release talks about tailoring “solutions to meet individual customer needs.” But the more ominous claims of corporate synergy are always present: Together, FedEx and Kinko’s will create a broader range of high-end corporate solutions, with physical and virtual connections to the global marketplace.
I remember discovering, during a desperate midnight stop at Kinko’s, the miracle of cerloxing those extra special late night term papers; realizing that a colour laserprinted resume might just make the hiring manager sit up and pick you for that internship (stay with me folks, this was 1991); and, in 1993, resorting to self-designed humourous coffee mugs after mailing 100 resumes didn’t produce a single response (mailing – 1993 – please keep up).
This was the “free agent” life – depending upon Kinko’s for that veneer of professionalism, and it continues today. Will the change in ownership mean more of an emphasis on corporate clients? Will FedEx choke what individuality remains out of the experience?
December 30, 2003 by Colin
“I’m actually far more interested in the media’s responsibility than the politicians’,” says Stewart. “To me, the most interesting shot in the documentary ‘Journeys With George’ is from behind the horde of reporters going to a staged event. You ever see 8-year-olds play soccer? It’s just this weird clump of legs, and then all of a sudden the ball will fly out and with no strategy or game, they just go ‘Ball!’ That’s what the media is.”
December 22, 2003 by Colin
The Advisory Committee’s finalized the marketing plan. You’ve finished the design and production on the new graphic identity and are ready to jump into the rejeuvenation of the Santa Claus, Inc. brand.
Your first stop? An international trade show, of course. But is your marketing team ready? Have you picked the right people to staff the booth? Do they have past experience with trade shows? Do they know how to “work the crowd”?
Many first-time exhibitors work with an experienced contractor; someone who knows how to sweat the details of working in a high-pressure and time-sensitive environment like the Javits Convention Center.
At Santa Claus, Inc., our trade show activities require special preparation. Here are some handy hints:
1) The union considers the sleigh a movable booth, and as such, additional fees will be imposed.
2) The sleigh can’t be pulled by your normal reindeer – instead, you must hire union reindeer at $325 an hour. No less than 14 union reindeer at any time, minimum of 4 hours work per. Of course, only eight of them will actually be working at one time, so you have to book additional booth space for a “grazing
3) While other companies will be handing out pens, mousepads and stress balls, remember that the handing out of any “presents” in any form will be considered distributing, and you must apply for exemption from the event sponsors – and getting that idea by the Disney folks will be impossible.
4) Cookies and milk will no longer be left out for visitors – instead, you need to fill out a purchase request from the trade show’s authorized caterer. They are $36 a dozen, and taste like sawdust (so the reindeer will like them).
5) Be careful about what promo material you bring. Any presents left unclaimed and out in the open will be inspected by police and may be destroyed. We lost 2500 Tickle Me Elmos that way last year.
6) Dress appropriately. There are many stairs, steps, and backstage hallways – you might be advised to wear comfortable shoes, based on your weight. For the Elves, this means support hose with the padded feet.
7) Commuting from the North Pole is a non-starter, even with the sleigh. Since Santa, the Chief Elf and the marketing Advisory Council will want to hit the hospitality suites every night, you will have to stay at the trade show overnight. You might consider taking a room at a local hotel. Use the code “SNTCLS” for conference rate – which is only 125% of the rack rate.
8) Look around you. Look at the guy at the workbench next to you, sewing the Strawberry Shortcake doll together. Is that elf really a “people person”? Are any of them? Consider hiring special trade show “models” who can smile for hours on end. They also get paid less than elf scale.
Thanks to Peter Shankman for his work on this!
December 19, 2003 by Colin
Has the adult-contemporary or easy listening radio station in your market gone to an all-Christmas format? Do you now find yourself inexplicably drawn to the Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jose Feliciano and Nat King Cole compliation albums while shopping for windshield washer fluid at Wal-Mart? Do you find yourself asking co-workers if “they’ve heard that funny carol – Walkin’ ‘Round in Women’s Underwear“?
In Chicago, WLIT saw its share of all radio listeners grow from a 2.9/3.6 share earlier in the year to a stunning 9.3 during the Nov. 28 to Dec. 11 Arbitron rating period.
Once they saw holiday rating spikes like that — and a 2002 Arbitron ratings study confirmed those holiday-music surges at stations around the country — radio executives started flocking to Christmas formats like revelers to a bowl of spiked eggnog.
Now, more stations are going Christmas earlier and earlier – say, the day after Halloween – because execs think that listeners will stick with the first station to change to a seasonal theme.
In New Orleans, there’s been a format battle as the two soft-rock stations have tried to switch to all-Christmas music:
Given that New Orleans was then without a soft-rock station, WCKW switched to that format a few days later. WLMG did too. WCKW execs soon decided to go back to all-Christmas music again, and its competitor did as well — within 15 minutes.
“I think its so amusing that Santa Claus could provoke a battle like this,” says WCKW operations manager Tony Florentino. “We’re not out there doing outrageous stunts — we have a nice, tame morning show and we don’t normally get a lot of media attention.”
December 19, 2003 by Colin
Memo: To all Regional Distribution Managers
Issue: Communicating during Uncomfortable Situations
The Santa Claus, Inc. corporate PR Department has worked on a number of possible scenarios that could be encountered by employees during the valuable Christmas rush. While Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the Chief Elf remain the principal corporate spokespersons, every employee must be prepared to deal effectively with suppliers, aviation officials, parents, children and, sometimes, law enforcement officials.
Working through past incident reports, we have created this series of handy guides for employees on resolving stressful situations.
Getting Busted at the 7-11
While the logistics staff make every effort to ensure that the sleigh is fully stocked with hot chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers, we have found that Santa and his reindeer sometimes require a more substantial meal. For most of the year, it means picking up some Chicken Tikka takeout. On Christmas eve, this is a little more difficult, especially if Santa is on the road with the sleigh.
Given our unusual operating hours, Santa Claus, Inc. has found that 24-hour convenience stores are the most available source of Santa’s favourite foods: tacos and Dr Pepper. In the past, storeowners understood the urgent midnight munchie runs of very portly elderly men dressed in red velour, but the increasing number of drunks coming home from office christmas parties has soured them on Santa.
As a result, Santa is frequently being harassed by convenience store owners convinced he is going to “wheze da juice” and run without paying. Here are some tips for avoiding a confrontation with a shotgun wielding store owner:
- Gout is not an excuse for parking the sleigh in the handicapped space.
-Do not use your Santa Claus, Inc. building pass to wheedle a discount.
- Do not try to pay with the Pokemon cards from the Jensen house.
- “Ho, ho, ho” might not be seen as a greeting by some female customers.
- $50 solves everything. It’s under the hat.
Getting caught by a six year-old
Despite all of the Chief Elf’s technological advances, the noise of the reindeer, sleigh, chimney and bored elves poking the reindeer will wake someone up during the night. Some adults go out of their way to encourage children’s mischief. It is important to maintain the illusion of magic, happiness and giving that is Santa Claus, Inc:
- “Holy Crap! What the hell are you doing up!” is not an acceptable greeting.
- Don’t skip out on the milk and cookies, even if you’re lactose intolerant.
-Remind the child that Elves need to use washrooms just like the rest of us.
- $5 will not buy the silence of an eleven-year old boy. FHM will. Take one from aan elf – they hoard the magazine.
Sleigh Accident at Toys ‘R Us
Despite the stagnant economy, it is still hard to find skilled sleigh drivers – especially ones under four feet tall. This has meant an increase in SRDC – sleigh related damage claims. The cost of these claims is naturally reflected in our insurance premiums.
Both to boost morale and undermine Santa Claus, Inc’s competitors, we have begun training our new sleigh drivers in Toys ‘R Us parking lots. This provides open space for maneuvering a large sleigh and team of reindeers as well as plausible deniability.
- “That rich red scratch down the side of your Lincoln could have been caused by that car there, sir!”
-Remember – the sleigh handles like a pig at slow speeds. Why do you think we land it on the roof, and not the driveway, when doing deliveries?
- It also holds about 300 shopping carts – which can be sold off at $300 a pop.
- As the settlement with Wendy’s will attest, the sleigh is NOT drive-through friendly!
Bar Fight on Boxing Day
Inevitably, Santa, elves and other employees will come across one or two people who did not get what they wanted on Christmas morning. Some may even claim Santa does not exist, and will attempt to undermine the work of Santa Claus, Inc. through scientific deduction. If some of them (or you) have been drinking, this discussion might get animated, even physical.
- Logic doesn’t usually work on drunks. The Rope-A-Dope might, though.
- No matter how many elves are with you, you will not win the fight. You are fat, and elf arms aren’t long enough. This is why every elf always carries a sock full of coins.
- If the police ask, you grew the beard on a bet, and these are your pajamas.
- If will take up to 48 hours to post bail. It will take us that long to sell enough handmade wooden toys to get the money.
December 18, 2003 by Colin
So. Your internal communications plan notes that Santa is to host your Christmas event this year, but you have some questions about the the cost, the reequirements and possible complications. Check out our down-to-earth FAQ for the answers to many of the questions you might have.
Q: How much does Santa cost per hour?
A: Santa traditionally works for a rate of 7 cookies/hour + 1 glass of milk for every hour after the second, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. After 3 p.m., Santa’s rates change to 4 shots of bourbon and 2 six minute “elf” breaks /hour.
Q: Does Santa come with his own costume?
A: Yes, due to federal laws, Santa Claus Inc. is required to provide a full and freshly pressed official Santa uniform.
Contrary to previous arrangements, we no longer offer specials on “Pantless Santa” appearances.
Q: Do we need additional liability insurance?
That depends if you assume responsibility for transporting Santa, his elves, the large red velour throne and faux panelled wood sleigh to your event. If Santa must deliver it in his 1977 Ford Bronco, we will require an indemnity waiver.
Q: Does Santa come with Reindeer?
A: Due to a tragic violation of federal airspace over LaGuardia Airport in New York, we have discontinued our reindeer rental service. There is, however, a sale on reindeer steaks at the Food King in Queens.
Q: Is there a weight limit for Santa’s lap?
A: Be it boy, girl, man or woman, Santa likes ‘em lean. Elf and waif sizes are also acceptable.
Q: Is Santa a holly jolly sort?
A: While our Santas are relatively kid-friendly, we believe in encouraging an open, honest and thoroughly festive environment for all party guests. Therefore, Santa is strictly professional and distant towards anyone under the age of 18. To engage Santa’s full friendliness, have him interact with females from 18 – 22 years old.
Q: What are some examples of Santa’s interaction with the kids?
A: Santa comes equipped with the traditional array of Santaisms including “Ho Ho Ho” and “Merry Christmas one and all.”
For an additional 3 cookies and shot of bourbon per hour, Santa will ad-lib.
“Reach into Santa’s pants for a Christmas miracle”
“You call this crap eggnog?”
“You don’t want that toy. It’s made by kids your age in third world countries.”
“I heard you’ve been a naughty, naughty girl this year. Care to show me how naughty?”
“Jebus? I don’t even believe in Jebus!”
“You know that Santa on 14th Street? I made him my bitch last night”
Q: Is Santa available for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs?
A: Bar Mitzvahs? Are you insane? Bat Mitzvahs, maybe.
Q: Can Santa answer the essential questions of the Universe, like: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A: A woodchuck would chuck as much as a woodchuck could if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
Q: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
A: The world may never know.
Q: Why is the sky blue?
A: If it were green, we wouldn’t know where to stop mowing.
Q: Can I get an culturally-representative Santa?
A: Of course! Santa is available to represent the season of giving in many cultures. If your “gift basket” for Santa includes some top shelf shit or a little blow, we’ll paint the big guy freakin’ green.
Q: Will Santa lead us in caroling?
A: No. Santa does not sing. He has enough problems of his own already.
Q: Will Santa’s belly really shake like a bowl full of jelly?
A: Sadly, most of our Santas are not really fat. If anything, his belly shakes like a cheap felt suit full of padding. And smells like the dressing room from the Peoria Little Theatre performance of the Lion King.
Q: Is Santa cool if the shit goes down?
A: Absolutely. Santa comes fully equipped! When the shit goes down, Santa and his elf’s got your back, yo. He’s ready, willing and able. Even when drunk, Santa’s one bad motha’.
Q: Did you notice that if you move the “n” in Santa to the end of his name, you get “Satan?”
A: We did not notice that. While it is interesting, this does not imply an endorsement, either directly or indirectly, for our beloved lord and master, Lucifer.
December 17, 2003 by Colin
Memo: To Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Chief Elf
Issue: Preparing for
interviews with the
As the holiday season approaches, I would like to remind you of some basic tips and techniques for dealing with members of the media. I’m sure most of this is old hat, but my colleagues in the seasonal entertainment PR industry are still mocking me about the Santa’s Summer Cruise Wear photo shoot you did for Portly Fashion magazine. Remember the cardinal rule for a winter celebrity: no-one needs to see Santa’s knees.
Keep the message upbeat
Santa Claus, Inc. is a good news story. You have very good positives, and very, very low negatives (as long as we keep the factories in North Korea under
wraps). Because of years of cultural appropriation, we have become the personification of winter fairy tales from countries across Europe. More importantly, thanks to our longstanding partnership with Coca-Cola, we have established an international identity as a joyful and reassuring personality in a number of retail, specialty, wholesale, direct and e-business channels.
This will only continue if Santa Claus, Inc. is represented by personable and upbeat spokespersons: Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Chief Elf. Last season’s totally inappropriate FHM interview and companion piece (Does Mrs. Santa really know who’s naughty and nice?) may have resulted in a temporary spike in views to the image gallery on the Santa’s Workshop website, but it did nothing for sales of the children’s sleepwear line.
Please remember what the focus groups said: Santa is wholesome, he is understanding, he is approachable, and he makes reasonable compromises when faced with children’s demands. (sidebar to Chief Elf: “The Taiwanese make hose things from twine and bark” is not an appropriate answer to a probing question from CNET about a competitor’s new digital camera)
Meeting the Press
Please remember that the PR department spends a substantial amount of time preparing for the holiday season and seasonal coverage in printed media, including magazines, newspapers, trade journals and specialty association magazines.
Remember the initial messaging sessions in June, led by the Research Director? Those messages are driven through every contact with these outlets, with the intent of positively affecting the public’s perception of Santa Claus, Inc. at our most vital moment: the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Preparing for Television Interviews
Remember – make eye contact with the interviewer. Pretend the camera is not there. Any sudden eye movement between the two will make you seem shifty nd untrustworthy.
Remember: for television appearances, Santa ALWAYS wears the uniform. Santa does not dress in Alexander MacQueen suits. He does not appear on the Today Show in Joseph Abboud casual wear. Santa is reknowned for wearing half-moon reading glasses: he does not wear tortoiseshell glasses left over from the 1970s corporate parties at “54.”
Similarly, the Chief Elf ALWAYS wears an elf hat (with required bell) and wooden togs. The two minute interview on NEXT@CNN last week was very informative, but the “Gates Sux” t-shirt detracted from the overall message we were trying to convey.
Finally, Mrs. Claus will NEVER, EVER again appear as a Barker Beauty on The Price is Right. While the initial concept was approved, we should have foreseen the potential embarassment of a “summer splashing” prize package – with Mrs. Claus illustrating the value of a hot tub.
We really should have learned from our past appearances on the Match Game.
Preparing for Radio Interviews
When doing a phone interview with a local radio station, please make sure all nearby stereos, computers and televisions are turned off. Not only is microphone feedback a possibility, but sometimes the radio listener can hear the noise in the background. The interview with Rick Dees last year went well – except for the portion where listeners could hear certain Ned Beatty lines from the WTBS broadcast of Deliverance then being shown in the Elf Lounge.
Also – be very aware of added sound effects. While the Santa Claus, Inc. PR department does provide sound files of reindeer grazing and elves caroling for use in radio and tv broadcasts, some unscrupulous show producers have been known to insert sheep sounds and other inappropriate noises into the broadcast.
Meeting an Editorial Board
Meeting the editorial board of a newspaper provides an opportunity to present a sweeping view of the work and interests of Santa Claus, Inc. Santa, Mrs. Claus and Chief Elf, as corporate spokespersons, can all participate in editorial boards, with appropriate preparation.
While board members expect spokespersons to be open, honest and frank, spokespersons of Santa Claus, Inc. should never use the phrases “You never heard it from me, but …” or “While at the biker bar, I …” or “FAO Schwartz had it coming …”
December 16, 2003 by Colin
Memo: To all Regional Managers
Issue: Recent Incidents involving Seasonal Character Hires
As you may be aware, some stores in the chain have recently suffered embarassing public relations incidents because of poor hiring decisions – particularly in the selection of Santa and associated Elf characters.
In the Texas region, a part-time Santa recently decided to ride the bucking ronco brought in as part of a cross-promotion with a local country radio station. While there were no injuries – among store patrons – the store’s lifesize Nativity Scene now only has two wise men and Joseph looks remarkably like last fall’s standalone pop-up for Tiger Woods-brand clothing.
In upstate New York, our seasonal Santa met some overly friendly “elves” at the “gentleman’s club” next to the mall. After a free lunch and some extended imbibing, our seasonal hire drove the young ladies home in a “borrowed” service van from the appliance department. 35 mail boxes and a deer later, he was arrested.
Once again, let me remind you of the personality traits and behaviour we expect from our key seasonal Character, Santa:
Guidelines for portraying Santa Claus
Jolly, not sarcastic
Friendly, not saucy and suggestive
Engaging, not overly touchy-feely
Chipper, not liquored-up
Red velvet hat with white cotton or fur ball
Red velvet coat with white trim and cuffs, not red velvet coat with biker colours
White shirts, not mesh shirts
Red velvet pants, not leather pants
Black boots, not cuban heeled boots
“Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!”
“And what is your name, little boy/girl?”
“What would you like me to leave under the tree this year?”
Santa does not say:
“Ho Ho Ho! Daddy’s Home!”
“And what is your name, mommy?”
“How ’bout I make a special delivery?”
Santa’s helper is:
Dressed like an Elf
Santa’s helper is not:
Dressed like a Santa Groupie
When leaving the Display Area, Santa says:
“Pardon me, kids! I’ve got to check on the reindeer”
“I think Mrs. Claus has my coffee ready.”
“I have to go check my list for who’s naughty and nice.”
When leaving the Display Area, Santa does not say:
“Watch out kids! The Sleigh’s double parked and Santa doesn’t want another ticket!”
“Excuse me kids! I’ve gotta shake the weasel!”
“Me and the Elf have some important business to discuss.”
Please remember these guidelines when hiring Seasonal Characters.
A/National Manager, Cross-Platform Marketing
December 13, 2003 by Colin
Let’s face it – it’s not easy being the embodiment of all that is good and merry about the world. You spend all year in the freezing cold, surrounded by elves, pushed by SuperToy conglomerates to come up with faster and better toys, and then you get grief because you can’t find My Little Pony nderpants. And that’s just the presents for the adults.
No, it’s not an easy job, whether you’re the real Santa Claus or one of his earthbound minions, chosen to spread his festive spirit for $5.30 an hour throughout the shopping malls, street corners and office parties of the world.
And there are many, many ways you could screw it up. Without deep concentration and careful planning, you can easily slip from the Guy in Charge of All that is Good in the World, to That Scary Fat Guy in the Red Suit who Ruined Christmas. That wouldn’t be good.
So, without further ado, we present: PR For Santa: The Basics, written by Andrew McKay.
1. Don’t forget your roots
Sure, the “I’m from the North Pole” shtick may work when working the bar at the Holiday Inn Express, but you can easily be exposed by deeper questioning if you don’t have your facts straight.
So here’s the scoop: you represent St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, travelers, bakers, merchants, and most importantly, children. Santa was born in Asia Minor eighteen centuries ago. He went through torture and imprisonment, and yet, was responsible for giving gifts to all the children of the region of Myra, right up until his death. Think of that the next time a screaming kid tries to return a lame Batmobile kit.
2. Don’t dis the sled
You’ve been given the greatest vehicle in the world: a two-seater sled that can fit enough presents for every boy and girl in the world. Think of it as a car with the style of a Bentley, but the storage capacity of a Hummer. Without the sled, you’re nothing. Sure, the Salvation Army uses a U.S. National Guard C-130 to distribute toys and packages to the villages of Alaska. But you know they’d use the sled if they could. Like General Lee and her welded doors, you sacrifice some comfort for prestige.
3. Don’t get caught up in Conduct Unbecoming to Santa
You’re the giver of happiness, the best toymaker in the world, and you enjoy a nice rack of reindeer ribs like everyone else. That ought to be enough. There’s no need to risk it all in the pursuit of insane leisure activities, like the Santa impostor who practices his chimney descents by rappelling down North Carolina’s 315-foot Chimney Rock in his full red suit. Sure, it makes for a
great photo op, but it leaves no time for wish lists – talk about mixed messaging for the average seven year-old!
4. Be careful about your posse
You’d think this one would be fairly obvious – maybe Santa’s been scarred by partnerships,
co-branded promotions and marketing agreements before. What’s Santa’s favourite drink? Coke? Next time you’re doing a drop-by at the mall, consider this: exactly where did the marketing company pick up the help? It’s difficult to think of a better way to permanently scar a child than to have an errant elf run amuck while she’s describing which Bratz doll to pick up at Wal-Mart.
5. Remember Your Basic Values: “Good”, not “Evil.”
Because people expect you to slip into their houses and eat their food, it might be tempting to think you can ignore the laws of the land. I mean, $15.95 for a picture with Santa? Basic news searches will also show you that Santa seems to be a close second to Richard Nixon as the preferred disguise of bank robbers.
We can only assume that these larcenous Santas had stolen their suits off one of Santa’s apprentices, but the fact remains that you can never be tempted by the fruits of The Suit.
6. Make sure the facts are correct
You must know about NORAD’s Santa Tracker, which follows the Great One himself as he traverses the globe. It’s a nice effort, but it wouldn’t have been necessary if someone had actually checked a phone number. A Colorado newspaper misprinted the Santa Hotline phone number, and dozens of children started calling what was then known as the Continental Air Defense Command command center.
Fortunately, the good folks there tinkered with their radar until they could actually detect Santa and his reindeer taking off from the North Pole, but it’s a risk you don’t want to take with your valuable brand extension test in the carefully selected MidWestern city.
7. Don’t believe the hype
To many, your arrival is a bright spot as the cold winter months approach. Don’t push it. You have a foundation of trust and respect, built through years of hard work. While there will always be skeptics, don’t assume that your hard earned rep will cover every indiscretion.
In a concept no doubt inspired by considerable amounts of beer, a Scotland town held a “Santa Idol” competition this year, putting prospective Santas through a rigorous audition process in the style of the successful TV program. Donald Baxter, 68, won the right to be Santa at Tourist Information Centres in Dundee and Arbroath.
“Some of the Santas were excellent, although I think there were one or two iffy ones to be honest,” said one of the judges.
8. Mind your “Ps and Qs”
Sure, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re Santa. You can kiss strange children and ask single mothers their age. But there are some boundaries you just shouldn’t cross.
Take, for example, a recent “Santa Claus of the Year” contest in Finland. Five contestants showed up, which is embarrassing enough. One brought a gift bag of his own paintings – nude portraits. Another gave the organizer an overly enthusiastic hug, squeezing her ” in some of the wrong places.”
The competition also included a contest to see how many children could fit into each Santa’s lap at the same time. That’s wrong on so many levels, we’re pretty sure we don’t need to go over them here.
9. Don’t dis the help
Sure, it’s hard being Jolly St. Nick, squeezing through chimneys, and keeping that damn smile on your face. But you can never forget the little people who got you there, the poor folk responsible for reindeer maintenance. Think it’s an easy job? Think again.
Apparently, reindeer herding is the most dangerous job in Sweden. There were 150 deaths on the job between 1961 and 2000, said Per Sjoelander, one of the authors of “Fatal Accidents and Suicide Among Reindeer Herding Samis in Sweden.” The number of deaths was more than twice that for farmers and more than three times the total for construction workers during the same period.
Remember THAT the next time you lift your heaving gut into the sled.
10. Protect the corporate image
People get lazy. It’s a busy time of year, the production lines are humming, the elves are trying to figure out exactly how Elmo learned the “limbo.” You don’t have the time to track your key messaging, support the new brand and protect the corporate image. What happens with all these distractions? A scandal like “Elf.”
In just over 90 minutes, one movie sums up everything that can go wrong when you don’t pay attention to your image.
Consider this: you’ve got a human elf, who is raised at the North Pole because Santa supposedly didn’t see him sneak into The Big Red Bag. Then you’ve got elves mocking him (and displaying positively un-elflike behavior), just because he’s 6-foot-five. He’s wearing yellow tights, when the corporate Elf manual explicitly specifies red leggings. And the climax of the movie insists that Christmas spirit and carefully-herded reindeer aren’t enough to drive the sled; you also need a turbo-boosted engine that only the fake elf can fix.
What’s that mean for Santa? A visit from Child Services, possible ISO 9000 violations because of the tights, and a suit from the FTC because your 1/18
souvenir models of the sled do not reflect reality.
Throughout “Elf”, Bob Newhart has a look that says “I had a good career, worked hard, had two hit shows – how the hell did I end up HERE?” The same thing could happen to you if you’re not entirely vigilant every time you don The Suit.
December 12, 2003 by Colin
If you’ve ever wondered what the life of a rent-an-elf is like, you have to visit “Now is the winter of our Discontented Elf”, a great journal of one person’s life as a seasonal character hire. A sample entry:
The Suits came to check on Santa today.
Santa: (watching Suit approach) He’s going to ask us where all the kids are.
Suit: (approaching) Hey, Santa, where are all the kids?
Elf Winky: In jail?
Elf JoeBo: Doin’ your wife?
Elf Destructo: Selling crank in Bath and Bedding?
Elf Cranky: Or even, in school at one-thirty on a Wednesday afternoon?
Santa: (to Suit) Ho ho ho!
Thanks to Jeremy Popper for the pointer!