Why aren’t toy company managers playing department store Santa Claus?

by Robert Siegel on November 30, 2010

I was talking with the toy company executive sitting next to me on a plane. His job was finding and developing new toys.  It was the Christmas season so I assumed that he was extremely busy and made a comment along those lines.  He explained that no, he was already focused on planning for next season.  He was not busy during the Christmas shopping rush because his work for the Christmas season was finished by the end of the summer.  He was already focused on next Christmas.

I responded by explaining that what I had meant was that he must be very busy during Christmas working as a department store Santa.  He was baffled and also insulted.  My mistake.

I assumed that during the Christmas season, toy company executives and managers lined up to take advantage of the opportunity to work as department store Santas.  What better opportunity is there to gain informal insight into the wants and needs of a toy maker’s target market? He was missing the opportunity to sit his target market on his lap and enter into one of the most open exchanges imaginable; Santa Claus and a child.  What a range of Vivid sensory and emotional input he could have gathered as Santa Claus.  What a brilliant Ideative opportunity.

Unfortunately, this toy company executive was actually insulted that I would think he would stoop to this kind of job. The job of department store Santa job was for out-of-work people that could pass the drug screening.

Oh well. Don’t miss the opportunity to play whatever role is your industry equivalent to the toymakers department store Santa.

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