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A Christmas Story of the Christmas Spirit

Ralphie had a dream.

I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!

Ralphie had obstacles. Every adult, it seemed, believed unwaveringly…

No, you’ll shoot your eye out!

And in the middle of this epic struggle of one human to obtain a precious object that really only serves to bring to life the indwelling desire to be heroic and save those he loves from the forces of evil, he faced the most hideous of all Christmas evils. Do you remember what it was?

Every growing hero needs a secret decoder ring, and Ralphie invested time and days of waiting-in-anguish until it arrived. Once he had it in his hands he gleefully sat down in front of the radio to record the stream of numbers that enciphered the message he knew would change his life. And when he leveraged the power of the ring to decipher that message, he stared at it in horror…

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.
A crummy commercial? Son of a…

Yes, friends, Ralphie’s greatest confrontation with evil was not the bar of soap his mother placed in his mouth, nor was it the endless parade of grown-up grumblings about eye safety. It was not the lamp, major award though it was. It was not the bullies in the alley. It was not Black Bart. It was not his father’s misplaced anger. For you see, in the end, Ralphie’s mother saved him from his father. Ralphie received the Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning and sent Black Bart running. Ralphie vanquished the bullies. The lamp was destroyed. His eye, closely missed though it was, was intact. And the soap in his mouth went back up on the ceramic arm of the sink where it belonged. Ralphie’s tastebud memories were now palimpsests atop palimpsests of his mother’s cooking.

But what does not happen? Ralphie never uses the secret decoder ring again, because his greatest evil – that which drained him of heroic power far more than the BB that struck his cheek just below the eye – was senseless, manipulative advertising.

Ralphie already paid for the ring. He gave up his time to listen to the radio commercials touting Ovaltine. So why should he have to endure more? He shouldn’t. And what did he think of Ovaltine in the end? Far less.

May we all remember this during the holidays and beyond. Let’s remember that our clients have already invested heavily in us. They have spent money. Time. Effort. They have traversed our websites and mobile touch points and already given themselves to our advertisements that plead for more. So why not simply help them get the Red Ryder BB gun they already want instead of trying to manipulate them into something that they don’t? Even if you have to send them down the street to Gimbels to get it (sorry, wrong story).

It’s not that hard. Is it, Ralphie?

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