So last night I attended my apartment building’s Christmas party. Many of my neighbors work for FedEx, several in the marketing department in particular. So I always get to hear the latest rumors about what FedEx is up to. And last night I heard something HUGE.
They tell me that FedEx has agreed to pay $300,000,000 a year to become the title sponsor of Christmas. Starting in 2007, the holiday will be known as FedEx Christmas(TM).
“We’ve put our name on golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, arenas, even a football bowl game in the past,” one of the FedEx employees told me. “Signing on as the sponsor of a beloved holiday like Christmas is the next logical step.”
There will be some changes. Santa will no longer wear his red suit, but rather the purple-and-green uniform of a FedEx Ground delivery driver. His sleigh and reindeer will be replaced by a FedEx Ground delivery truck.
For now Santa’s name will remain “Santa Claus,” but I am told that at a future date Santa will be renamed, in order to better fit with FedEx’s global marketing and branding strategy. I am told that FedEx will hold a Give Santa a New Name contest, with people being given a contest entry each time they ship a package through FedEx or make a copy at FedEx Kinko’s. Winner will receive a free trip to the North Pole on a FedEx Express plane.
I asked my neighbors in FedEx Marketing how they would deal with the public outcry that is bound to arise over the change in Christmas’ image. “Well, you have to realize, this is not the first time a corporate marketing campaign helped to shape public perceptions of Christmas,” they told me. “Contemporary images of Santa came out of advertising by Coca-Cola. But we at FedEx feel it’s time to update that image. After all, how many kids have ever seen a reindeer? But they’ve seen a FedEx delivery truck. And a man in a big red suit is kind of scary – but the FedEx Ground delivery man, everyone knows he’s there to bring packages and presents and goodies.”
They told me they also have an extensive charitable campaign planned to build goodwill around the FedEx Christmas(TM) name. The company will be working with St.Jude locally to deliver FedEx Christmas(TM) presents to sick children, and it will also be donating money to serve FedEx Christmas(TM) dinner in homeless shelters around the world.
“You also have to understand, this was a smart business move for Santa,” I was told. “He’s getting up there in years, and running that toy factory takes a lot out of him. With the $300 million a year we’re paying him, he can simply go to the mall and buy all the presents, instead of making them himself. Or better yet, he can shop online and have the presents shipped via FedEx.”
They continued, “You also have to consider that this will allow Santa to lay off all his elves. This will reduce labor expenses, positively impacting Santa’s bottom line. You see, this sponsorship is truly a win for everyone.”
My neighbors went on to tell me of other planned changes. Although FedEx Christmas(TM) will usually remain on December 25, if the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday it will be moved to the following Monday, since FedEx generally does not deliver packages on the weekends.
Local hotels such as the Peabody who serve brunch or dinner on the holiday will be allowed to continue doing so, as long as they properly display the FedEx Christmas(TM) logo on all advertising and signage, and pay FedEx a licensing fee for the use of the name.
Lots selling FedEx Christmas(TM) trees will also have to display proper logos and pay the licensing fee. Those lots not wishing to pay the licensing fee can get around it by simply calling their trees “holiday trees.” Some lots plan to start selling Festivus poles – based on the famous “a Festivus for the rest of us” episode of Seinfeld – in protest, but FedEx’s legal team is already preparing a lawsuit to stop the practice, claiming that Festivus is a Christmas derivative.
FedEx Christmas(TM) carols will have to be rewritten. For example, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” will now become “We Wish You a Merry FedEx Christmas(TM).” Since FedEx is a global company, this change will have to be carried throughout the world – for example, “Feliz FedEx Navidad(TM)” in Spanish-speaking countries.
A big thank you to FedEx and other generous corporations for making the world a better place through their sponsorships. Merry FedEx Christmas(TM) to all, and to all a good night!