Know Your Audience: Game on Santa

This Christmas Best Buy has declared war on Santa. Their recent slew of ads, featuring women out-gifting Good Ol’ Saint Nick with show-stopping Best Buy gadgets, are stirring up a sugarplum storm across the blogosphere. It makes me wonder: Best Buy, do you know your audience?

The most hilarious, misspelled and emotionally charged sentiments can be found in the comments on the videos’ YouTube pages. To illustrate just how strongly America feels about this new spirit of Christmas competition:

Wordle of "Game on Santa" comments on YouTube

Of all the hemming and hawing, from “Christmas is about Jesus” to “I’ll never spend another dollar at Best Buy,” one statement really stood out:

“This lady used a double-negative. ‘Daddy don’t want no cologne’ is stating that daddy actually does want cologne,” corrected HipHannaRose.

Of course, as a writer, editor and all things grammar, this would be my favorite.

The most turned-off are the parents, with little ones very confused by the commercials. “If these commercials aired after 10 p.m. I wouldn’t care,” commented JLether on YouTube. Coincidentally, the very women in these advertisements are, in fact, wives and parents. Their priority isn’t holiday cheer, it’s snatching up the credit for all those presents made by “Santa’s Elves.” A few commentators agreed with that sentiment, like hylianlegends, who claimed,

“Santa is FAKE. Teach your f%^&*#@ kids that he’s fake early, and let them appreciate YOU, the parent, who actually went out and spent the money, so they can hug and thank you, and not some fictitious character. Grow up and get a sense of humor.”

Now, I didn’t count the comments one-by-one, but public opinion, at least expressed on YouTube, seems to be relatively 50/50. These comments are also the most grammatically incorrect and, in many cases, the foul language slaps you in the face like stocking filled with coal. Bloggers have been significantly more critical of the commercials, but also more coherent.

In her blog The Odd and Unmentionable, Dia Osborn rants about how this commercial offended everyone in her extended family, probably even her dog.

From "Game on Santa" commercial.

I have to admire her; I’ve never seen someone rant in such an well-organized list. She rationally mentions, however, that while she is offended in at least six different ways, she will remain a Best Buy customer. The blog inspired her commentators get into a well-articulated, respectful debate about materialism, Santa and commercialism.

I think Joyay on Wikinut describes the sentiment best in Best Buy, Game On Santa Commercial? Awkward. Awkward is exactly right. Some love the series, some detest it. Most of us in the middle, however, just feel uncomfortable, trying to hide our chuckling. This is Santa we are talking about here. He is a sacred symbol of our childhood. Someone we would never turn our backs on. But, as adults, we appreciate the humor in sacrilege and well, Santa is a well-intentioned scapegoat here.

Maybe people do need to relax and loosen the holiday noose a bit.  Maybe we are a bit mixed up in the materialism of gift-giving. Or maybe Best Buy should avoid edgy commercials that emotionally curb-stomp one of the most recognizable international holiday traditions. Does Best Buy know their audience? During the Superbowl? Yes. During Christmas? Probably not. But people are talking and the commercials are still airing. In a world where one negative tweet can turn viral and force a billion-dollar company to beg for forgiveness, you have to admire Best Buy’s commitment to their creativity.

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