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To: S. Claus

CC: Bangles the Elf, Chuckles the Elf, Dongles the Elf, Tingles the Elf

From: S. the Elf

Re: Holiday Season 1999 Marketing Effort


Just got back from our last focus group for HS99. Overall, things are pretty positive. Market penetration is at an all-time high, and we're close to media saturation point. We had nearly 100 percent name-recognition from the good list, and a whopping 76 percent name-rec from bad list/heathens/atheists/other undesireables.

Here's a fast-and-dirty rundown of the initial findings. (Tingles and I are working on a PowerPoint version for Thursday's staff meeting, but the office box is almost entirely full of porn. Dongles, can you talk to your people?)

Carols: Most are real downers, and there's too much religious content. Plus, the emphasis of family love over material gifts cutting into bottom line. Recommend elimination of 90% in HS99 and concentrating marketing efforts on:

  • "Jingle Bells": Non-sectarian, emphasizes travel and family togetherness, parody version (the so-called "Batman smells" version) shown to increase DC comics sales. Possible cobranding opp.

  • "Carol of the Bells": Non-verbal, works well as background for mall ads. Downside: Incredibly annoying. Upside: Studies have shown shoppers often rush purchases in order to escape.

  • "Deck the Halls": Wreath industry VERY interested in this one. Some focus groups in midwest had trouble with the line "Don we now our gay apparel." Suggest changing to "Don we now name-brand apparel."

  • "Santa Claus is Coming to Town": Jury's still out. Great demographics, but "knows when you're sleeping" business stirs up negative impressions in privacy advocates. Recommend: Hold for HS99.

  • Possible addition: "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel." Not a traditional carol, but it does reemphasize the "play" and "toy" messages. Cosmetic changes to dreidels needed (replace indecipherable Hebrew scribbling with elf pictures, reindeer, or co-sponsorship -- Chuckles is working on Mobil and Dupont), but they could also be made to serve the Christmas, Inc. brand. Downside: the line "I made you out of clay" could introduce idea of creating own toys. Suggested change: "I bought you new today."
Stockings: Research shows that primary gift items are fruit, nuts, small, impulse-buy items, and other high-overhead, low-profit-margin crap. Recommend elimination or replacement with plastic containers that can hold more big-ticket items. Bangles: Change "stockings" line in "Twas" to "the chimney was circled by new Tupperware"

Movies: Still working on spiking non-Santa-branded movies. Schulz and those screwballs at Turner are still raising cain about "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life." We offered additional face time during "Christmas in July" sales, but no luck so far. Prospects for HY99 elimination: Not good.

Presents: This was a shock. Based on what we found, coal is not seen as a punishment by bad-list consumers. Recommended alternatives: Broken glass, dog feces, that Easter basket grass crap that gets all over, expired prescription medicine (we have a good supplier VERY interested in piggybacking on our existing distribution lines).

Look: I know you love your furs, big man, but we're getting some serious PETA blowback. Tingles is interfacing with product development to come up with alternatives. We're thinking lamé or maybe rubber.

Competition: Out in the field, we got reports that you-know-who are still pushing that bogus "Hanukkah Bush" crap. Legal is preparing cease-and-desist order scheduled for mailing at EOD Thanksgiving. Ledgers the Elf in legal asked that you take a stronger anti-Hanukkah stance during public appearances. (Possibility: Stomping on menorahs? We'll talk Thursday.) Side note: Somebody named Steve Jobs keeps calling with "tips for eliminating clones." We still no idea what this freak is talking about. Recommend bad-listing him.


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