Santa brand book will get your festive campaign on-message

We all understand the importance, during this most festivious of seasons, of ensuring that all communications of the globally-renowned Santa - sorry, we mean *Santa* - brand are fully compliant with brand guidelines. Thankfully Quietroom, in conjunction with Santaclaus Global Enterprises Incorporated, produces the official *Santa* brand book to help keep you on-message. The first version was published in 2010, and this year it's received a full refresh.

If you're a fan of over-the-top branding, you'll absolutely love it. Spouting nonsense such as, "A brand is a sack on a sleigh of belief," and helpful language tips like, "The words we use must always be convivial, festivious and jollificatory," it's a spot-on celebration of the very worst excesses of the branding world. And Father Christmas. Sorry, Santa. Sorry, *Santa*.

The book addresses all the important issues of building top brands such as brand promise, brand values, brand assets (complete with a handy graph that geographilises *Santa*'s key competitors on a fatiness/beardiness spectrum), brand palette and, best of all, the brand house. It's a breathtaking edifice of advanced brand conceptionalisation that stratifies the key values of the *Santa* brand within the framework of a domicilistic cutaway.

The brand book is the work of the Quietroom's co-founder and creative partner, Vincent Franklin. He tells us the original 2010 brand book was created as a Christmas card; it proved so popular that they created a PDF version and put it online. So, why the refresh? "The glib answer is that it's three years since the industry standard for child-centric gift delivery solutions asked us to reposition them in the global market place. And brands, like teenagers' bedrooms, need regular refreshes.

"The honest answer is that we wanted to do it better," Franklin continues. "Over the last couple of years we've thought of lots of ways we could make the book better - the brand house, the use of logos. And we've wanted to update things like the beardiness/fattiness matrix to include more up-to-date references. We also wanted to remove elements that weren't dry - gags that were too obviously gags. So two of us sat down with some Prêt Christmas sandwiches and spent a couple of hours coming up with a refresh. If we were a branding agency, that would be £1.7m please. We then turned it into a website, so it would be easier for people to share than the old PDF had been."

The resulting update has proved a hit, and Franklin - who you may recognise from The Thick of It as the Conservative director of communications, Stewart Pearson, a new-age media monster who's never short of an appalling buzzword - says that real branding agencies love it. "Lots of branding agencies have said nice things about it. Loads of them have shared it with each other and with their clients.

"It makes sense really. If you celebrate it, it says to your clients, "Hey, look at this. Isn't it good that we laugh at this rather than resemble it?" However, lots of people who work client-side have told us their agency talks like this. But everyone likes their profession being 'celebrated'. When I was working on 'The Thick of It', I was always amazed by how many politicians came up to me and said they loved the programme."

Words: Jim McCauley

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