Guest Post by Shanan Sorochynski

Without the input of communicators and marketers  far and wide I fear Christmas may be doomed. Let me explain …

The other night in a haze of nog and toddies I noticed that the table next to mine had elves – two of them.  They were intense little creatures that smelt like cinnamon and cloves.

I watched as they spent the night furrowing their brows at the page on their table.  They drank and wrote and pounded their wee little fists  in frustration.

Did you know that when elves punch each other in the face glitter explodes into the air? It does. It also provides great cover for snapping photos with an iPhone.

Long story short, I photographed their comm. plan, a dismal thing that needs your input.

Christmas Communication Plan 2011
Prepared by senior communication elves: Peppermint Pete and Ernie Evergreen


For centuries Santa’s Workshop has been a leader in the secular celebrations industry as a result of successfully meeting the needs of its stakeholders – children.

However, recent data from the Workshop’s global Awe and Wonder meter shows there has been a steady decline in enthusiasm for the holidays. Children (particularly those tall enough to reach the cookie jar on their own or “jarrers”) have become bored with our brand. For them, Christmas has lost its “wow.”

Our analysis also revealed that in 2010 the movie “Inception” staring Leonardo DiCaprio surpassed jarrers’ enthusiasm for Christmas. By updating our model of exchanging toys for good behavior with one that exchanges a mind-bendingly awesome cerebral Christmas experience we hope to reintroduce that sense of wonder many of our stakeholders have lost.

We call it: Operation Sugar Plum Fairy.

Research and Analysis

The infallible Awe and Wonder meter was used to determine the scope of the problem and probability of our tactic’s success.

In Dec. 2010 it showed the following changes in jarrers from the year before:

  • A 44% decrease in gift satisfaction. A 2009 gift that received a “meh” was more likely to receive an “eh” in 2010.
  • A 25% increase in those asking Santa for money instead of gifts.
  • A 40% increase in those who believed that the majority of their presents came from a store (as opposed to  Santa’s Workshop).
  • A 25% increase in the wearing of Christmas sweaters – though stakeholders claimed to only be wearing the sweaters “ironically.”

According to Box Office Mojo Inception has grossed more than $800 million worldwide. Many of those dollars came from jarrers.

Intended audiences

Primary:  jarrers
Secondary: ankle bitters

The formal research showed that jarrers were dissatisfied with traditional forms of secular celebration and see gifts less as something special but as the completion of their order. Santa’s Workshop holds a monopoly on Christmas magic. By providing our stakeholder a high-quality customized Christmas experience that cannot be bought in stores – or provided anywhere else – we hope to reinvigorate the brand.

Goals and Objectives

Goal: Better support the organization’s commitment to spreading awe and wonder during the holidays.

Objective: To replace traditional gifts with a customizable cerebral experience so that we better meet our primary stakeholders’ awe and wonder needs. This would be measured by our ability to increase “wows” this year by 30%.

Solution Overview

Instead of toys, Santa’s elves will design Christmas dream landscapes under the creative direction of Peppermint Pete Ernie Evergreen Peppermint Pete Ernie Evergreen

As you can see their plan is a mess. What would you change to improve this? (Or are you sending your dream landscape specifications to Santa and his elves?)

Images: nickb_rock via Flickr, CC 2.0

Shanan-SorochynskiShanan Sorochynski manages the University of Regina’s first official blog: YOURblog. Previous to this she was the managing editor of U of R Report, the University’s faculty and staff internal publication, and a print journalist in Manitoba.