ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Advertising Lessons From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special

Updated on February 13, 2019
heidithorne profile image

Heidi Thorne is an author and business speaker with over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, advertising, and public relations.


My absolute favorite Christmas special is the Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stop motion animation TV special from 1964. Watch it every year. In fact, I've watched it every year since the very first telecast. Hard to believe that it celebrated its 50th anniversary!

Know I'm showing my age here, but I remember watching it that first year on a big, couch-sized black and white TV console with my dad. The Abominable Snowman was pretty scary back then, but I was glad Yukon Cornelius was able to rehab him.

The special is loaded with life lessons on acceptance, friendship and blazing one's own trail. But there are some underlying themes that apply to the world of marketing and advertising, too. Later in the post, take a look at the advertising that supported the original airing of the special. Cue the time travel music to head back to 1964...

Misfit or Best Fit Advertising?

One of the most adorable segments of the special is the Island of Misfit Toys. Kind of like a benevolent landfill for toys that no one plays with. I never could figure out why the little girl doll was a misfit.

Advertising Lesson: I always thought the charming and unusual Misfit Toys were kind of cool. Agree? Anyway, an imperfect advertisement or promotion for one group, may be perfect for another. All depends on the target marketing demographic and the objectives for the ad campaign.

You Might Need Some Help

So the Island of Misfit Toys' King Moonraiser's got the goods, but Santa needs to match 'em up with the right kids. Rudolph's got the hookup. Sounds like a perfect networking referral.

Maybe you need some friends who can help you achieve your sales and marketing goals, too. Help could come in the form of co-op advertising programs. Or maybe hiring outside experts and consultants can give you the perspective you need to see new opportunities.

Take a look at the original 1964 ads and promos that supported the special. Though I can't imagine sportin' a hair dryer like that and not too sure hubby would appreciate the electric knife as suggested, notice how GE completely integrated the special they sponsored into their advertising.

Advertising Lesson: Look for ways to integrate marketing efforts to benefit everyone in the equation—customers, content creators and sponsors.

Reforming and Repurposing

Poor Abominable Snowman. Big, hairy and, thanks to some genius dental work, toothless. So now what should he do? Thanks to Yukon Cornelius he now has the new job of topping the tree without a ladder. The short little elves gotta love that!

Got some products or services that are now longer serving a useful purpose? Got some "elf" markets that could use some of these offerings if they were revised a bit? Why reinvent when you can repurpose?

Advertising Lesson: Markets change and dry up. Measure advertising programs continuously to identify trends. Analyze if there are under-served markets that could utilize the company's offerings with minimal investment in repurposing. And always be looking to create "evergreen" offerings that have longer product life cycles.

Going Down in History...

What is your favorite Christmas special?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)