Friday, December 9

Multiple Santa Sightings

Today we are going to take off our marketing hats and don a red Santa hat and honor the man of the hour.  Seems that everywhere we turn, we see Santa.  Not sure how he does it, but that's part of his magical powers.

One of my favorite scenes in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular is the dance of the multiplying Santas by The Rockettes.  Always hard to explain to the kids, but quite the visual spectacle.  And for me, a lasting visual of the holiday season and a true American treasure.

It's always fun to see Santa, no matter where.  Last year around this time, I wrote about Santacon -- a worldwide gathering of people dressing as Santa and gathering at bars and city parks.  It's basically a united party of Santas.  It's happening again tomorrow on Saturday, December 10th.  So much fun!

Santacon is not the only game in town, though.  I also want to pay tribute to the group Santa Sightings -- small little "runs" where the runners all dress up in Santa outfits.  Just as much fun!

The best part about it is that most of the runs support and raise funds for a charity, so not only are you running in a Santa outfit, you're running to help out others.  Many of the runs are sponsored by brands, so the costs are covered and the funds all go to charity.  Love that.

Some of them are even trying to get into The Guinness Book of World Records for the most runners in a Santa suit (can't make this stuff up!) -- current record holder is in Ireland with over 12,000 runners, all in Santa Suits.

At a time when the world feels so rough, it's great to have a little levity, don't you think?  Now that's something I would want a brand to sponsor.

Even Santa at the mall is reinventing.  File this under "awesome."  Malls are starting to make the whole Santa experience more relevant for all types of kids by creating special "quiet areas" for children with special needs who can't tolerate the noise and confusion of the typical Santa experience.  Particularly effective for children with autism.  So great.  And as one woman says in the article here, "what's normal anyway?"

One last honorable mention.  The Salvation Army "ringers."  They truly are filling Santa's shoes, even if not in costume.  I heard that Improve Everyone is helping the cause by doing fun impromptu dances in front of the kettles to help stimulate donations.  It's the reason for the season as far as I am concerned.

How can we possible keep track of all the Santa Sightings?  On Twitter!  Just follow @noradsanta to keep track of the big guy's travels.

Which begs the question (can't help myself):  is Santa a brand?  He certainly makes an emotional connection with his target and delivers a consistently compelling experience.  Let's leave it at that.

Happy Santa Sightings!  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

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