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December 2008

Timeless Christmas Stories Tap Into Memories and Emotions

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The advent of Christmas brings with it the cherished reruns of those classic Christmas movies. Somehow over the years, these classics have found a way into our hearts and speak to that childhood wonder in all of us - the sense of pure joy as we crept downstairs to see what Santa had brought us. They speak to us in ways not often found in our day to day lives. In today's chaotic world, family is often forgotten and long held traditional values are replaced with a new and more efficient way of doing things.

It's interesting to note that many of today's cherished Christmas classics started out as box office failures. It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol and Miracle on 34th Street didn't become hits until repeated airings on television decades later.

In an article written by Bill Brioux for StarWeek,Brioux asks the question as to why these Christmas classics are so meaningful today. What is it that draws us to the screen every Christmas when the classics are aired? Brioux concludes that the movies are good stories (based on literary works) and are based on great actors who, at the time, were at the top of their games." Most importantly, the movies take us back to a time when childhood was magical and family and tradition held high value in society.

What makes them more real is our ability to identify with the journey of the hero. In every movie, the hero faces incredible challenges and is able to bring himself out of a very dark place. Hope and faith are key themes, and in most cases the hero is able to pull himself out of a bad situation with the help of some sort of spiritual guide.

As the world enters 2009, let's not lose faith in our ability to shine in life. We can each make a difference, and without the ability to dream life is reduced to mere survival and ritual. The greater the pace and rate of technological advances in the world, the greater the need to go back to a time where life was much simpler and full of energy, wonder and hope.

May 2009 be your year to dream and rediscover the lost sense of childhood within you. Thanks to all my readers for their input in 2008!


Canadian Tire Seeks Memorable Christmas Brand Stories

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In an effort to get customers to share memorable Christmas stories, Canadian Tire is inviting loyal brand users to document their Christmas "experience" online.

Customers from all across Canada are sharing their stories as to how Canadian Tire has been able to maintain a place in their holiday memories. To many, the Canadian Tire brand is synonymous with the spirit of the season. Stories are shared as to how customers were able to find the perfect gift or decorative piece at a local Canadian Tire store.

Although the concept of storytelling is not new to advertising, the Canadian Tire approach is interesting on several levels:

1) Each story has the ability to hit you on an emotional level, as we can all identify with the holiday situations and challenges faced by each storyteller

2) For many, the Canadian Tire brand is synonymous with the Christmas shopping experience and the yearly trip to the store is part of their family's ongoing holiday tradition

3) The power that memories and emotion play in brand recollection

4) Each story is "personalized" with a brief summary of the storytellers demographics and list of favourite holiday styles and preferences

What do you like best about this form of brand storytelling? Do you think this approach will entice new customers to try the brand experience - or do you think the approach is more effective in retaining current customer loyalty?