As Christmas movie heroes go, it’s hard to do better than Buddy the Elf in the whimsical and utterly charming “Elf.”
You get all of the joyful innocence, the resolute belief in Santa’s magic and the colorful visual appeal that can be found in the best holiday movie characters. Plus, it’s all wrapped up in the inimitable Will Ferrell kookiness and supported by a cast of heavy-hitters including James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart and Ed Asner.
After discovering that he’s not just different from the other elves at the North Pole – 6-foot-2, for starters, and a bit of a laggard in his toy-making prowess – but an actual human to boot, Buddy sets out on a quest to find his real father, even after learning that he is, gasp, on Santa’s naughty list.
His journey leads viewers through plenty of hilarious and wistful adventures, as Buddy dines on spaghetti topped with maple syrup and chocolate Pop-Tarts, learns how to ask a woman on a date and unleashes his Major League-caliber throwing arm in a Central Park snowball fight.
Sprinkled in with the belly laughs and the captivating holiday spirit is a great lesson in strategic marketing: Sometimes, you have to make your own magic.
Whether it’s putting on a memorable client event or marketing your product to capture the right audience or making the best of a challenging situation, you can’t rely on others to tell your tale, make your gala pop or capture people’s imagination.
In Buddy’s world, he’s constantly making his own magic. Perfect first date activity? Make snow angels and visit a perfectly ordinary diner for the “World’s Best Cup of Coffee!” Department store Christmas village looking a little dull? Spend all night blinging it out with Lite-Brite art toys and construction paper snowflakes and bushels of imagination. The very future of Christmas hangs in the balance? Unleash enough of your own belief in Santa, as well as that of the countless people you’ve influenced, to power his sleigh’s Clausometer back into action.
Sometimes the best marketing inspiration comes from corporate case studies or industry research or talented consultants. And sometimes, it comes from an unflappable character who wears bright yellow tights, eats cotton balls and hasn’t mastered an escalator or revolving door but believes above all else that sometimes you just have to make your own magic.