12.27.2005

Santa Claus: Branding Genius

From the guys at the "Economist," masters of playing it straight:

... "THE man who created the world's most valuable brand remains an elusive figure when not in his grotto, often shielded by the tinted windows of a personalised executive sleigh that serves as his mobile office. Friends say that money is not his motivation, even though he is apparently seeking now to sell off all or part of his privately held empire. Talking to the elves, seeing the children smile, guiding the creative side of Christmas, these are the things that drive him, he says.

Yet the owner of the trademark beard and belly-laugh is also a man shrewd enough to have grasped the money-making potential of Christmas when nobody saw it as a commercial enterprise at all, and many thought it doomed to merge with New Year. Santa Claus, a former bishop from Asia Minor, thought differently. He did not invent Christmas, he likes to say now, but he did re-invent it. Probably nobody has ever seen the link between reindeer and revenues more clearly. "Besides," says one high-ranking elf, "he throws great parties." "

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