Should Santa be modernized?
A survey catching some attention last week explored how Santa should be rebranded to become more modern. Two updated Santas — Fashion Santa and Hipster Santa — in fact already have legions of fans.
The more famous is Fashion Santa, who made his first appearance at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in 2015. Played by professional model, Paul Mason, the svelte Fashion Santa went viral after starring in Yorkdale’s holiday campaign decked out in designs from Burberry, John Varvatos and other top designers. Soon came fashion magazine spreads and 21,000 Instagram followers.
Mr. Mason recently told 7 News in Miami, “It went local, then it went national and it just blew up.”
At the mall, scores of guests, including many adults, over the years have taken selfies with Mr. Mason, who often wears a red leather jacket in meet and greets.
Also in 2105, Hipster Santa — sporting a man bun, heavy-rimmed glasses, knit zip-up sweater and ”Naughty” and “Nice” tattoos on his forearms — began appearing at Pioneer Place in Portland, OR. Devotees encountered ninety-minute waits to see him, and he has become a local celebrity. Heralding his return this year, Pioneer Place wrote on Facebook, “Visit the big guy himself for a unique Portland experience!”
— Downtown Portland (@inDowntownPDX) November 17, 2017
Some ads over the years have featured skinnier or otherwise different versions of the fictional character, but not many have veered from the classic Santa that originated from a Coca-Cola advertising campaign in 1933.
Last week’s survey from UK-based GraphicSprings, however, offered some suggestions by asking U.S. and U.K. consumers “how they would modernize Santa.” Many were reluctant to change Santa’s image. But among those who wanted an update, suggestions earning more support were that he should go on a diet, should get a new hairstyle and have tattoos. Other popular suggestions were that he should be in a flying car, “be more hipster, have an iPhone and use Amazon Prime.”
The biggest surprise was that not everyone thought Santa should be male. Eleven percent felt Santa should be female and 17 percent, gender-neutral.
- Modern Santa – GraphicSprings
- Instagram star doubling as ‘Fashion Santa’ takes over Neiman Marcus in Bal Harbour – WVSN
- Fashion Santa shares style wish list – Boston Herald
- Pioneer Place is Proud to Welcome Hipster Santa! at Lower Level Rotunda – Pioneer Place
- Paul Mason (Fashion Santa) – Instagram
- Ho Ho, Yo: Modernized Santa Gets a Refreshed Facelift by Brands – Brand Channel
DISCUSSIONS: How would you modernize Santa? Does the stir created around Fashion Santa and Hipster Santa speak to an opportunity for retailers and brands to experiment with the fictional character in campaigns?