Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pop Culture and the Marketing of Christmas

Stuart Elliot of the New York Times explores the influence of pop culture in the marketing of Christmas in this week’s advertising column, Shorthand for a Holiday: Ralphie, the BB Gun and the Flagpole. As Elliot points out, “A Christmas Story” has become this generation’s “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The movie is based on autobiographical stories from Jean Shepherd’s book, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. The stories from the movie have been compiled into a book, also of the same name.

I had already seen the Cingular ads featuring a surprisingly accurate take-off of the movie. “Ralphie” gets a GoPhone in this version instead of an “official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle.”

Office Max is jumping on the Christmas Story bandwagon too with online games including one called “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.”
“Fun is a big part of what our culture is,” Mr. Thacker (senior vice president for marketing and advertising at Office Max) said, contrasting the humor of “A Christmas Story” with the sentiment of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

In other Christmas news, you may have seen the story that a fellow in Cleveland had bought the house from “A Christmas Story” and restored it to its original movie splendor. Of course, he’s charging admission to visit. I’d like to see the furnace that the Old Man was always cursing at. Wouldn’t mind paying either.

TBS is showing this year’s marathon of “A Christmas Story” at 8 p.m. Dec. 24. But this family will be grabbing our video long before then.

Christmas Countdown -- 27 days


Kilroy_60 said...

I'm happy to see your description of A Christmas Story; I thought it was just me. 8-)

Tim said...

I become depressed, frustrated and grouchy during the holidays. The crowds, people becoming grabby, the noise and traffic - I can't stand it! Whatever happened to a nice relaxing Christmas, eh?

Sheila said...

Thanks, guys, for your comments. Christmas is one of those primal things as far as holidays go for Christians and secular enthusiasts alike. And it does bring up all those expectations if we let it. My strategy: don't sweat it too much, don't get too far into acquiring perfect gifts, don't shop when everyone else is out or shop online. Enjoy the smells and sights (even my neighbor Joe's oddly decorated tree looks pretty with lights at night).

Kilroy_60 said...

I don't buy gifts for Christmas or any other time they are "expected". I buy what I want for whom I want when I want. That makes everything easier for me...although people who don't know me so very well have difficulty with it at times.

Sheila said...

I'm not a good gift giver. It's not that I don't enjoy giving. For our son's birthday, I was sure he'd like his own digital camera since he has an interest in photography and has won ribbons at the state fair. Well, he is not the kind of person who is good at hiding his true feelings and it was clear I had misjudged on this one. We convinced him that it wasn't necessary to pretend that he liked it and to just tell us what he really wanted. Turns out he wanted an iPod but had thought it too expensive to suggest.