Santa, the Brand that Stirs Emotions and Instant Recognition

Is Santa Claus the most recognizable brand in the world? Absolutely. He is instantly identifiable by his shape (portly!), his face (those rosy cheeks!), his red and white outfit, even his laugh! Companies today would mortgage their last sugarplum to achieve the kind of brand recognition Santa has. And much like Cher or Bono, he can go by his first name to be recognized.

The Coca-Cola Company helped popularize Santa's modern incarnation with an advertising campaign in the 1930s. American artist Haddon Sundblom created Coke's version of Santa, inspired by Clement Clark Moore's poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas." (A right jolly old elf.) That version of Santa even made it onto U.S. postage stamps last year, adorning millions of Christmas cards!

But Santa isn't just recognizable. He's memorable. He strikes that chord of nostalgia that resonates within us. Santa hits us right in the emotional breadbasket, taking us back to Kodachrome-colored times in footy pajamas.

Good brand strategists know that recognition and emotional connection, combined with persistent consistency, is a win.

So, if you want your brand to avoid the Naughty List this year, here are some tips from Santa.

  • Stand out from the crowd (A flashy red and white suit can't hurt.)
  • Consistency is key-brand manuals exist for a reason.
  • Have a story to tell. And tell it well!
  • Get a good team. Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer all share the load.
  • Be jolly.
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Throw Nostalgia, the Holidays and Advertising into the Blender. Whadaya get?

Merriam-Webster describes nostalgia as a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for a return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. We're built that way as human beings. We don't even have to have lived through something ourselves to have sentimental yearnings for it.

Sometimes we experience nostalgia for a time and place that we wish could have been or that strikes similar chords in our psyche. Think of a farm boy from Ohio identifying with Dylan Thomas's depictions of the holidays in A Child's Christmas in Wales. An award-winning television series was built around the theme of longing for a past that belongs to someone else…Mad Men, anyone?

Nostalgia has long been a tool in many advertising agencies ' toolkits. And the holidays seem to be a perfect time to key in on those feeling of longing for the past to engage with customers. Here are a few that employ the strategy quite skillfully.

From the French company Bouygues

And as if we didn't recognize McDonald's knows parents.

And an oldie but a goodie from Folgers. (This one is pre-Hi-Def!)

This year has made it tough on many of us who cannot return to our nostalgic cultural touchstones due to the COVID19 pandemic, so hang in there, call someone you love, perform a random act of kindness, and take it easy on yourself.

Holidays are for nostalgia

Add These Holiday Beers to Your Shopping List

Just because we're social distancing doesn't mean we can't enjoy a seasonal beer or three. Here's a list of some of our favorite holiday brews.

Troegs' The Mad Elf
We might pick this one based on the name and label alone, but the honey and cherries make it delicious. Plus, it weighs in at a hefty 11 % alcohol, so it'll keep you warm on a cold winter's night. Just don't plan on taking the sleigh out after a couple of these.

Deschutes Brewery Jubelale
A dark brown ale with spice, toffee, and cocoa notes? Yes, please! As good as a cup of cocoa with extra marshmallows.

Bell's Christmas Ale
This Scotch ale is rich and malty and warms you up like your favorite woolly sweater or a cozy pair of socks.

Sierra Nevada Brewing's Celebration Ale
The only IPA on our list, one has been joining us for the holidays for nearly 40 years. Notes of citrus and pine make this like Christmas in a bottle (there's some fresh hoppy bitterness in there too, but what are the holidays without at least a little bitterness?)

Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale
This one's been one of our seasonal favorites for a long time. Notes of honey, cinnamon, and ginger scream Yuletide. Try it in a pint glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar if you're feeling particularly festive.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager from the Boston Beer Company
This wheat bock beer is usually easy to find and is delicious, to boot, thanks to its orange peel and spice vibe. Sam Adams Holiday White Ale is tasty, too.

Stoke the fire in the fireplace, grab a plate of cookies and a bottle opener, and enjoy. Happy Holidays!

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A Battle Plan for Covid Doldrums

Things suck out in the world. And there's not too much we can do about it, which means our mental health is taking a beating. Do you find yourself sleeping and eating all the time, flaring up over imagined slights, and not feeling your usual joi d vivre? First things first, you need to know it's okay. You're in good company, like all of us, the raw uncertainty of the moment, coupled with the stress of isolation, takes us all down a peg.

So, what are we going to do? Fight back. We're going to set melancholy and depression back on their heels. Here are the basics: Get enough sleep, and practice good sleep hygiene. Go bed and rise at the same time every day. Ratchet back your activity before hopping in the sack, which means staying away from all your screens and TV. Watch your caffeine indicate, especially in soda.

If your skies are dark and grey, like they are in Cincinnati right now, you might consider buying a light that provides the full spectrum of what our sun gives us. Use one as a desk lamp while you work or wherever you're holing up. They help.

Here's a touchy one, consider cutting back on your drinking. It's delicious and all that, but it messes with your serotonin levels and sleep cycle.

The best medicine is to reach out and talk to a real person on the phone, in person, or on a video call. Because we are in this together. See you on the other side!

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Essential planning for Medical Device Marketing Podcasts

Podcasts are like digital locusts these days. They're all over the place. The good part is that consumers of all stripes, including doctors, have adopted them. With that, of course, comes more competition. But there's always room for well-produced content designed for a niche audience. So, roll-up your sleeves and get ready to do your podcast homework.

Avoid the "We should do a podcast on that" syndrome. If "should" is the best you can do, then it's not valuable enough to sustain over time.

Worry about the right things

Forget about microphone mixers, video cameras, editing software until you nail down an exciting concept for your podcast. Focus on ideas and fill in the technical aspects later.

Define the problem a podcast will solve

What are you trying to achieve with your podcast? Put it in writing and run it by all your stakeholders. Nothing will send a podcast into the fizzle bin faster than not having a shared purpose.


We can't stress enough the importance of establishing a workable budget before you embark on your journey. It's a reality check that will prevent you from spinning your wheels.

Budget items may include setup costs like design and editorial planning, web hosting, and any upfront investment in cameras, lighting, or audio. Also, consider costs per episode, like paid talent, scriptwriting, editing time, and an audio and video crew.

Show formats

Choose a format that fits your budget. Here are a few ideas:

Interview – In each show, the host interviews a scientific, medical, or KOL guest.
Pros: Potentially a barebones production. Imagine your CEO sitting next to a fireplace talking into her iPhone.
Cons: Requires quality guests.

Wrap-ups feature news related to your category, medical device products, and internal content.
Pros: Reduces costs by using curated elements and one presenter.
Cons: The potential for monotony.

The Show – This program is put together on a clock like news shows.
Pros: The show is fast-paced, can cover multiple topics, and delivers big chunks of information in a short amount of time.
Cons: Requires a written script and more production.

Audio, or audio and video?

Do you have fantastic images and O.R. video to show? Is your presenter or host charismatic or well known? If not, stick with audio. It's easier to edit, less expensive, and you don't have to worry about locations, meaning someone's kitchen looks.

Think small

We're noticing that some podcasters are producing programs that feature a set number of episodes. And that might be a great place to start, for example, a six-part series for an orthopedic medical device manufacturer that features your KOLs weighing in with their pearls, case studies, and techniques.

Take Aways

  • Don't spend too much time on concepts you can't afford to build.
  • If you're a podcast newbie, start small with a limited number of episodes and scale when you have more confidence.
  • Ensure your podcast has legs by specifying content for the second, third, and fourth episodes.
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