25 January 2014

Santa Claus Sells Out

Over the holidays there was some controversy emanating from those provocative googahs over at Fox Snooze about Santa Claus being white. Well, frankly, they weren't wrong—given, that is, their limited universe of knowledge.

Wisdomie brought his S.O. home from Hawaii and wanted to show her some of the tourist sites here in the ATL. We took her to the GA Aquarium (which is the tits, btw. Wisdoc and I scubaed there for our 24th Anniversary a couple years back—with whale sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, goliath groupers, etc.) and the Coca-Cola Museum. The latter is, if nothing else, a tribute to what was/is the greatest marketing campaign in the history of the world—corporate, that is (let's exclude, say, Catholicism). If you are a 'Mad Man' and want to see how a corporate branding campaign made a logo into the world's No. 1 most recognizable brand (including the Olympics), it's worth a tour.

[Of course, if you are an anti-corporatist, Occupationist throwback, you might want to take a pass. Unless, that is, you want to keep your enemies closer kinda' thing.]

Back to the point: One of the very real triumphs of Coke's long-game marketing campaign has, indeed, been the corporation's crafting of the Santa Claus image. There is an exhibition in the museum about the evolution of what we now instantly recognize as Santa Claus over the decades by the marketing geniuses at Coke. Do you think it is merely coincidental that the predominant cultural image of Santa Claus is robed in precisely the same color and shades as the Coca-Cola logo? If you do, then you are frankly naive and should check out how they did it at the museum.

There is another exhibit in the museum showing how Coke's marketing folks incorporated several images from the American artist Norman Rockwell into their ad campaigns. Wisdomie said as we walked through, "What a sell out!" I replied, "No, Rockwell wasn't just 'a' sell out, he was the original sell out. His selling out to Coke was the template for the phenomena—at least in corporate America. He set the standard, and Coke bought him whole."

Unfortunately, I don't know if that's entirely true. What about Toulouse-Lautrec? Or, to take another category: what about Michaelangelo (or any religious or patronized art)?

Anybody have any ideas about any other major or prominent (let's say American) artists who "sold out" their let's call it "artistic integrity" for corporate marketing purposes?

[This being brought to mind after seeing Inside Llewyn Davis last night re: 1960's NYC folk scene and the momentous arrival of Dylan thereupon (selling out being a prominent feature and thus theme thereof). Oh, and thereafter reading Ben Marcus's reply ["Why Experimental Fiction Threatens to Destroy Publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and Life as We Know It: A Correction"] to Jonathan Franzen's diss of Wm. Gaddis, "Mr. Difficult: William Gaddis and the Problem of Hard-to-Read Books." It can be "pleasurable," says Marcus, "to get what we knew we wanted – that is, after all, why we wait in line to sit on Santa's lap." Indeed.]

So, here's a cool song from ATL locals, the Black Lips, currently running in a T-Mobile ad. Love the song, and want the local lads to do well. But still...

And then, of course, there's:


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Of course, if you are an anti-corporatist, Occupationist throwback, you might want to take a pass. Unless, that is, you want to keep your enemies closer kinda' thing.


P.S. I bet Santa Claus traded whiskey for buffalo skins.

Jim H. said...

That's always been my issue with Occupation. Their hearts were in the right place. Let's face it, they were right about inequality. So right, that that's now the main theme of this year's zillionaire fest in Davos. It's just that they didn't know how to market, ie. distribute, their message to a broader audience. Their counterparts in the Tea Party had beaucoup bucks dedicated to propagandizing. Hell, they had paid PR persons and PR firms on retainer. In fact, their marketing op was bigger than their grass roots operation. Just the opposite of the true grass roots movement that fizzled with Occupy.

I'm off my soapbox now.

Stay warm!

thenthelightningwill said...

It's not a difference of not knowing.

The people with all the money created the teapers! That's where their money came from. No way the plutocrats would fund a movement that doesn't support their interests.

P.S. Note that Jeff Bezos bought the WaPo. Rather than at least firing the embarrassment Jenghazi Rubin, what has he done? Brought in the glibbertarians. Because Jeff Bezos pays too much taxes, yo!