The Norelco Santa Ad Is A Classic Christmastime Memory
|Santa's got a brand new... razor!|
|Well, someone just buzzed into our holiday season...|
Why was Santa riding a... giant razor? Well, there's a story.
I realize this sounds kind of quaint today. However, in the 1970s, any animation was still a novelty, and seeing top-notch stop-motion animation on your new color television set was a cool thing. So, again, why was Santa riding a giant razor? Well, you might well ask, and I'm here to tell you!
|A modern updating of the classic Norelco ad using 3D animation.|
To summarize, the Norelco Santa Christmas commercial is one of the most successful spots in advertising history. This Norelco commercial set the standard for all holiday spots. It was in the same league as the famous singing "I want to give the world a Coke" ads. Animation comes in all sorts of venues, not just films or television shows, and the Norelco Santa ad proved that quality animation could be outstandingly effective advertising.
Look, I know some of you are scratching your heads and thinking, a commercial? He's writing about a commercial? I want to avoid commercials! But let's just go with it, okay? These were classic spots. There are a lot of folks with great childhood memories of these Norelco Santa ads which are fused with the good times of the holiday spirit when families spent the season together and all watched the big TV together in the living room! And those were times when you had no laptop or smartphone to watch instead of that big TV set everyone else was watching! I know, right? How could that be? But people watched the shows together and actually enjoyed themselves. Hard to believe, I know, but there it is.
|Highlights from the famous Norelco Christmas spot.|
Let's step back a bit in case you are confused, Norelco is the American brand name for the electric shavers and other personal care productions of the Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care unit of the giant Dutch Philips company based in Eindhoven.
They adopted this name because, back in the 1940s, another company, Philco, objected that "Philips" sounded too much like their name. So, Philips came up with a new name that sounds suspiciously like it came from Northern Electric Company or some variation on that. The name problem went away many years ago (Philips bought Philco in 1981), but by then Philips had built Norelco into a valuable brand - largely because of the Santa TV ads. So, the name stayed Norelco. Since then, Philips has retained the Norelco trade name in the United States probably in no small measure because of the goodwill built up via the Norelco Santa Christmas commercial. And that, my friends, is a tale of how the tail sometimes wags the dog.
Norelco Santa Christmas commercials have been running since the 1960s, but only hit their stride in the 1970s. During that decade, the Norelco Santa was one of the most advanced pieces of animation anywhere, and not just in television commercials. Let's take a moment to appreciate the creative genius who somehow realized that electric razors have a vague resemblance to sleighs and then ran with that idea all the way to the bank.
My personal favorite out of all the ads is the 1971 edition, above, which has snowmen heads turning (including a female snow-person, in deference to who was almost certainly going to be the one buying the men their shavers) and an almost continuous Santa sleigh ride in the background. Later ads focused more on the actual products and less on Santa's sleigh ride - what nerve!
|Back in the day, Lady Norelco was revolutionary. Women have to shave?|
|Lest you think that Norelco somehow invented commercializing Christmas...|
|The Norelco ads became increasingly elaborate, with superior animation.|
The Norelco Santa Christmas commercials would end with the deliberate mis-spelling of "Norelco" to “Noëlco,” accompanied by the tag line, "Even our name says Merry Christmas." People "got" corny jokes like that in those days.
Political correctness eventually put a stop to that version of the Norelco Santa Christmas, oh wait, "Seasonal" ad. Those were more innocent and less culturally sensitive times.
|Santa taking off on his Norelco razor.|
|Print advertising tied in with the tv spots in a subtle fashion.|
|It really doesn't look as though Santa uses that electric razor too often...|
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this visit down Norelco, uh, Noëlco Lane.