A well needed refresh for the Santa brand
December 9, 2013 10:04 AM   Subscribe

*Santa* is the industry standard for child-centric gift-delivery solutions
posted by rolo (53 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
"We are headquarterised in the North, but our reach is global."

This is hilarious - one of those things that's so spot-on it's hardly satire any more. Well done.
posted by Miko at 10:07 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ho ho ho.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 10:11 AM on December 9, 2013


Each page is better than the last.
posted by muddgirl at 10:13 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


That ho ho ho Venn diagram is brilliant.
posted by mochapickle at 10:14 AM on December 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


"Don't use the over-familiar and paternalistic 'Father Christmas'. If only because it anagrams to 'the rich Mr Fat-Ass'."

Good advice! Thankfully 'Santa' has no similarly sinister anagrams.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:15 AM on December 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


Wonderful...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:18 AM on December 9, 2013


ho ho ho venn diagram is the bestest
posted by ook at 10:18 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


White on white.
posted by radicalawyer at 10:19 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hagrid: entering our reputation space
posted by ook at 10:20 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


When the comment thread is just people quoting directly from the thing you know you've found a good thing
posted by ook at 10:21 AM on December 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


A - B - C

A - Always
B - Be
C - Caroling
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


"Our brand essence is the very essence of our brand" - having had to deal with a few market-speak brand-makers, this is 100% how they think.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:30 AM on December 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


See also, "The greatest assets of any brand are its brand assets."

Spot on.
posted by Naberius at 10:34 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yah, this was really very good.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2013


They were woefully shorting Brian Blessed on beardiness.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:53 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


White on white is already in use.

I am currently taking a technical communications class, so this website is too painful for me right now.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:54 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The colors are all the same. Three identical reds, three identical whites. They didn't look quite the same to me, so I checked, and they are the same, and now I'm not sure how I feel about what just happened.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:57 AM on December 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I've never worked anywhere approaching a place where this would be anything but satire. It's discouraging that it's apparently not far off the mark.
posted by codacorolla at 10:58 AM on December 9, 2013


Too close to real life.
posted by PMdixon at 11:01 AM on December 9, 2013


Santa is obviously a Pepsi drinker.
posted by teraflop at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


The copy writing advice has actually had more thought put into it than pretty much any I've seen on these type of brand presentations. And I've seen them every week for 20 years.
posted by colie at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've never worked anywhere approaching a place where this would be anything but satire.

I work with a couple of people who are ex (or failed, which would make more sense) marketing people and virtually everything they ever say or do is pretty much identical to this booklet, which is hilarious in theory but horrifying in practice, primarily because they are dead serious in their belief that they are providing us with valuable insight and commentary.

they are wrong
posted by elizardbits at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


there still remains but one other word that you can spell with the letters that comprise Santa.



just sayin ...
posted by philip-random at 11:09 AM on December 9, 2013


Slide 6, "Why *Santa*":
* - the terminating asterisk points customers to the polar star, and hence the birth of dreams.
I've sat through several episodes of AMC's The Pitch and their final presentations all sound exactly like this.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:11 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've only watched one season on Netflix so far, but please tell me there's an episode coming up where the A-Team has to pull Santa's sleigh.
posted by ckape at 11:14 AM on December 9, 2013


Oh my god, this is hilarious.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:16 AM on December 9, 2013


White on white is already in use.

Side derail here, but the sound quality on that link was aweful, so horrid in fact it made me wonder if the original was that terrible, because my only point of comparison was my shitty n-th generation cassette copy of a copy of a copy ad infinitum played on the craptastic dual-cassette 1980's boom-box I kept in my dorm room back in the day (surprize, it was not, who knew?).
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:18 AM on December 9, 2013


there still remains but one other word that you can spell with the letters that comprise Santa.

AANTS!!!!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:19 AM on December 9, 2013 [16 favorites]


Unable to think about "branding" without imagining the use of hot irons
posted by hellojed at 11:23 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because that's how you get aants.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:24 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have the distinct honor of having a cubicle that is in the row that demarcates engineering from marketing. Seeing parody of the conversations I overhear inspired the (somewhat dim-witted) realization that Poe's law applies outside of religion and politics
posted by Dr. Twist at 11:31 AM on December 9, 2013


Santa is obviously a Pepsi drinker.

dumb question, is this parody too?
posted by Dr. Twist at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2013


Santa is obviously a Pepsi drinker.

Wow. That just made me realize that the new Pepsi logo is exacly an expanding waistline protruding from between pants and shirt.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


How to live the brand:
Snap it,
Clap it,
Wrap It *

* Following advice from our lawyers, we no longer "Meet it, Greet it, Eat it".

GENIUS.
posted by mrbill at 11:42 AM on December 9, 2013


Thanks, aants. Thaants.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not enough golden ratios.
posted by ckape at 11:47 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This gave me hives of bitter recognition, and now my eyes are all swollen shut and I'm suing
posted by penduluum at 11:50 AM on December 9, 2013


too deep, too crisp
posted by thelonius at 11:53 AM on December 9, 2013


The jokes on us though. This is a viral by a bona-fide re-branding agency and by laughing at it we are extending the reach of their brand peddling corpora-nonsense.
posted by memebake at 11:54 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Memebake - maybe they're just a little better at brand peddling corpora-nonsense...

but, on second thoughts, Bill Hicks probably had it right:
posted by rolo at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


by laughing at it we are extending the reach of their brand peddling corpora-nonsense.

Sure, doesn't mean we're not laughing, though. I think the joke remains on them. People pay big bucks for this crap.
posted by Miko at 12:04 PM on December 9, 2013


Page 6 of that Pepsi document... Mind blown! o_O
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2013


"mis-sleighed" Trying to decide if it would be more fun to use this on my boss at work or my five year old at home.... Decisions decisions...
posted by Big_B at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2013


rolo: but, on second thoughts, Bill Hicks probably had it right ..

Rolo, as soon as I clicked through to the main site and saw they were a brand agency, that Bill Hicks routine flashed through my mind. I know it off by heart.

I tweeted a link to this thing, and their company account favourited my tweet within about 2 minutes. At 8-o-clock in the evening. Someone is sitting in their Clerkenwell office right now, monitoring the social-media reach of their joke. What we are looking at here is a brand agency strategically poking fun at branding in order to forward their own 'down to earth, gently humourous' brand of rebranding.

Perhaps that makes it even funnier.
posted by memebake at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, I work in marketing — as in, just last Monday started working at a job on the Growth team, which I guess is the new buzzword-y way of saying "FIND THEM AND MAKE THEM PAY" (the "THEM" in this scenario is the entire known universe). This is hilariously close to some of the stuff you come across with bigger businesses and deluded fools especially, where people genuinely believe that these little micro-details are going to have an impact on their business and their company.

At the same time, there is something valuable to having someone who knows what makes a brand a good brand offer their services to you, because some of this shit really does matter. Lots of tiny design decisions add up to a fairly big impact, and while maybe not everybody is acutely aware of the difference between the very, very best-branded companies and the merely decently-branded ones, some people are painfully bad at convincing you to buy their shit, even when they're offering things that are totally worth spending some money on. The best brand managers are the ones with a decent idea of what you do that is awesome, and who can get you to totally focus on telling people, "Hey! I made this thing! You would like it!" It's not as easy as you'd think, and in the last week I've had that feeling of being totally overwhelmed by my new company's specific needs — there's a whole lot to digest, but that's also what makes working in this field really fun.

It's a pleasant mix of creative inspiration, rigorous research, and Dungeons and Dragons character spreadsheets I mean analytic tracking. (I intend to boost our front page's Cha to 17 and its Wis to 15 by the end of January — this web site's a-gonna be a motherfuckin' PALADIN.) And it's a genuinely valuable service, because communication is as important a part of creating a thing that people are actually gonna use as building the thing itself is. Yes, a lot of marketing is a load of horseshit — what makes that remotely different from any other field of work ever? Computers behave horribly and counterintuitively and incompatibly and generally make me want to kill people, but I don't go about acting like technology is an evil that's destroying the world just because a lot of it is bollocks. And I tend to dismiss people who go on and on and on about how computers ruin everything as sort of ridiculous, though I totally understand where they're coming from. Thus it is for me with marketing.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, a lot of marketing is a load of horseshit — what makes that remotely different from any other field of work ever?

OK, well as you ask: The trouble with marketing is that it is an increasingly expensive competition to fight for a slice of a limited resource - attention. Hence it becomes an arms race with everyone trying to out-market everyone else, with more money spent and ever diminishing returns. Most of the participants would rather stop, but they can't because of their competitiors. Meanwhile more and more of our environment is taken up with advertising. In the early days you could say you were helping people learn what was available, but thats not the case anymore. People can look stuff up if they want to know about products. The internet is the best catalogue ever invented - if people need to know about something, they can find it out. They dont need it paraded in front of their faces all day.

If we banned all advertising*, everyone would be a lot better off. And no-one would be happier than the big corporations**, who would be freed up to spend that huge chunk of budget on something genuinely productive.

* I vote to replace all adverts on the tube with children's drawings

** well except the advertising corporations, obviously
posted by memebake at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Perhaps that makes it even funnier.

Funny in a bleak way, maybe.

It is a curious feature of late capitalism that corporations feel so comfortably embedded within a system that remorselessly reduces every aspect of human life to an economic exchange that they can increase their market share by appearing to offer a trenchant critique of the system in the full knowledge that it will do absolutely nothing to threaten their place within it.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:59 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "Yes, a lot of marketing is a load of horseshit — what makes that remotely different from any other field of work ever?"

What is this I don't even
posted by Big_B at 1:30 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


*front of t-shirt*
LATE CAPITALISM (IGNORING THE PROBLEMATIC AND ESSENTIALIZING HISTORICISM OF THAT DISTINCTION) HAS ROBBED ME OF THE ABILITY TO CONCEIVE OF ANY SINGULAR ACTION OUTSIDE OF THE BRANDING OF MYSELF AND THE CONSUMPTION OF THE BRANDS OF OTHERS.
-image of a trashcan-
*back of shirt*
BUT I AIN'T BUGGIN'
posted by codacorolla at 1:44 PM on December 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


And I tend to dismiss people who go on and on and on...
posted by Rory Marinich


Sorry. Had to do it.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:18 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


*hisses angrily*
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:50 PM on December 9, 2013


The goal of branding is mostly to lead and control the dialog about your company without you having to be there. If you're Random Valley Plumbing, a branding campaign is overbaked and likely to backfire; you're not going to be doing business with anybody outside your immediate social sphere because Random Valley's a town of, like, five thousand people. If you suck as a plumber, everybody will know it within days; if you're a good plumber but have a body odor problem, word's gonna get out. A five million dollar rebranding campaign is not going to help you.

At the other extreme, if you're Coke or Apple, scrupulous attention to detail up to and including hundreds of pages of highly designed glossy books of brand management are necessary because there is no personal connection possible. You operate at such a remove from your customers and prospective customers that your brand is your proxy. If your brand is dressed a little differently, has a slightly different voice and mannerisms every time it engages with somebody, it's going to erode the perception of consistency.

Never mind that it has as much to do with the consistency and reliability of your company as the paint job does to the speed of a sports car.

Coke and Apple also have billions of dollars in the bank. A multimillion dollar rebranding campaign that takes a year to develop and additional years to implement is expected. It also costs an unnoticeable fraction of annual revenue. When you don't go about it with compulsive thoroughness, you end up with something like... Yahoo's rebranding.

The bloviation necessary to get signoff from the high mucky-mucks within any company (such as that Pepsi logo prospectus, which is real) is pretty spectacular. But it's also executive-speak. In my experience, it's the client who talks like that and expects to be talked to like that; the marketers not as much. The good marketers tend to know that whatever talk they're slinging sounds like bullshit to outsiders, no matter whether it's functional jargon or balloon juice, and will talk to you at your level.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah... between The Coca-Cola Corporation and Random Valley Plumbing are most businesses. Most benefit from some kind of branding. That usually amounts to having a decent logo and pronounceable name. Anything above and beyond that is either a bonus or creepy. Or both.

> Yes, a lot of marketing is a load of horseshit — what makes that remotely different from any other field of work ever?

I'l bite... The difference between the personal investment in a brand that fans make, in comparison to the personal investment in a novel, or song, or painting, is that the artwork proposes to offer its users intellectual or emotional stimulation, maybe education and personal growth. The brand only offers affiliation with a clique identity and access to the goods it represents. If you have an Apple sticker on the car, you advertise yourself as a consumer of -- or at least one who wishes to consume -- some particular ecology of things. If you have a "I Took the Mordor Walking Tour" bumper sticker on the car, you're advertising your personal investment in a major literary work -- even if your own relationship with it is fairly superficial, it's still access to deeper appreciation and understanding of something.

I've worked in the marketing world in various capacities for years. What branding brings to marketing, in a sense, is an attempt to parameterize and isolate the means by which people are convinced to buy things. Branding is interesting in how it is establishing a field of discipline with best practices of conduct -- if you do things in a particular way, you can get predictable results -- which breaks down the century-old notion of advertising and marketing being a process of intuition and talent. So in a way it's a means to more efficiently do a particular thing you have to do when you're a business -- convince people to patronize you -- but in doing so it is also making more acute a particular corrosiveness that marketing is also vulnerable to.

tl;dr: Marketing is a land of contrasts. It's complicated.
posted by ardgedee at 4:10 AM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lacks action items and how they relate to the chevrons of the effort streams.
posted by hawthorne at 7:12 AM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


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