A merry makeover

The ermine’s seen better days, and the reindeer could do with a retread. Jim Davies channels the spirit of Santa Claus to run through a brand repositioning brief for consultancy hopefuls

Jim Davies

Okay, that’s everybody. Thanks for joining the conference call. Appreciate it. I generally prefer face to face, but this is my busy time of year, and I know you guys don’t like to stray too far from the party action in Shoreditch.

Just a sec. Let me get some of this tinsel out of my beard. So here it is. We’ve been doing the same old same old for years. I hate to say it, but it’s getting stale… past it. I’ve been brand championing the whole thing for so long I’m red in the face. Even I can see it’s time for a change, and me an old traditionalist… we need a complete overhaul. I’m not talking refresh, I’m talking babies and bath water.

Of course, the big idea’s down to you. That’s why I got you in, and that’s why I’m the fat guy paying the fat cheques. Hope you didn’t mind about the free-pitching.

Don’t expect you do, as you got the sleigh ride. It’s the other losers who are moping around, shooting off grumpy letters to Design Week and moaning to the Design Business Association.

By the way Sugarplum, did you raise that purchase order? When you finish the wrapping of the Australasia consignment get on to it.

Where was I? Right, yes … I’m talking about a completely new brand concept that blows my hat off. Want to see the old ermine fly. Something that gets people talking, blogging, Twittering… I want it to go viral.

And I’m looking for serious awards too – and not just Cream of Lapland. I’m talking Benchmarks, D&AD. I want lightbulbs and pencils on the mantelpiece with the candles and stockings. I’m expecting serious creativity. I want you sweating brilliance.

First off, the big one – a new brand name. Come on. Santa. Santa Claus. Father Christmas. Even the occasional St Nick. It’s sending out mixed messages. Where’s the consistency? Get your best naming guys on to it … we need something upbeat, snappy. Think Snapple, Splash, Skype, Subbuteo – it needs stickability … people should be saying it in their sleep.

And as for the strapline … As far as I’m concerned, ’Ho, ho, ho’ rhymes with ’No, no, no’. No wit, no ambition, no oomph. It’s not even annoying enough to get under people’s skin. It’s just there. Like an over-cooked sprout. I need something that makes a statement. Think Toshiba, think Pepsodent.

How about something like ’Joy, delivered’, or ’Believe. Anything’s possible’? But listen to me, I’m not going to do your job for you. Give me intelligence, warmth, empathy, storytelling … but in no more than five words.

Look and feel. Ditch the red. It’s everywhere – Virgin, Royal Mail, YouTube, McDonald’s. Let’s go funkier – think pinks, purples, maybe even satsuma. The Grotto typeface is up for grabs too. Look at some ice-cool Modernist options.

Next, the reindeer. Okay, they were a good gimmick for a while, but they’re not as nippy as they used to be. Doesn’t look great in the corporate social responsibility report either, whipping aged animals across a snowy sky in sub-zero temperatures. Think about some sort of new Green transportation. With bells. Maybe get James Dyson in for a brainstorm. Or those Seymour Powell guys.

Okay. Cheers. Thanks for your time. Now fill up your doodle pads with genius and get back to me by the end of January. We’re looking to roll this mother out next year.

Have a small sherry and a mince pie on me.

Merry Christmas. But if you can think of a better line, I’m all ears.

Santa Claus, aka Jim Davies, is founder of copywriting studio Total Content

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