Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.
Happy holidays! I am so excited that you’ve joined us today for our special episode. This episode, I’m sure will go down as one of my favorites because a bunch of the people on our team at Stratos have contributed. Not everybody, but several of them stepped up to the plate when I asked for stories about their child and Christmas and marketing.
So trying to pair those three together, they did great. Ah, we have stories about Furbies for all of you, nineties — eighties, nineties kids. Actually, most of these are for eighties/nineties kids. We also have stories about walkie talkies and commercials and Christmas pajamas.
I’ll start off with sharing my story. But before I do that, I just wanted to tell you guys that we really, really appreciate you. We have loved being on this Marketing in the Wild journey with you, and it has been so much fun. So without further ado, I’ll get started and then I’ll kick it over to the other people on our team.
So, if you were a girl of the nineties, you probably also remember American Girl dolls. Apparently, they’re still a thing. One of my friend’s kids had just got her first one and I was obsessed with these as a kid. I had cousins who had several of them and I thought they were the coolest thing. I loved to read as a kid and so I got hooked on the American Girl Doll’s books. And so I really, really wanted one. But as some of you might know, I grew up in South America, in Peru for 15 years, and my parents were making a smaller income while we lived there. And so to ask for one was a really big ask.
So one Christmas, I got one. And so I remember every time we would visit the United States, we’d go to this Oshkosh, the Oshkosh outlet malls, Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. And they used to have this American Girl outlet store. And I would spend as much time as I was allowed just looking at all of the beautiful things that I could buy for my doll.
But could I buy them? No, I couldn’t. I couldn’t afford them. And my parents were not about to spend that much money on doll clothes either. And so I remember one Christmas, my mom made some, my grandma made doll clothes for us. There was a purple dress with a shawl that was really cute. Some other things, my mom made us sleeping bags for the girls, the American Girl dolls.
But best of all, my mom made and had made matching pajama sets for my doll and I. Laura got one, too, my sister. She had Kit, I had Molly, for those curious minds. But I loved mine. There are these beautiful, silky pajamas. They were blue. They had flowers on them. And mine looked exactly like my doll, hair ties and everything, you guys, that is how much detail my mom went into it.
And so, yes, I loved browsing the store. I loved looking through the catalogs, but ultimately, even though I couldn’t afford to buy the things on my own. I still got different things that my mom made for us instead.
So now that my story is over, I’m going to share some of our staff stories with you. You guys, these made me laugh so hard to think about how our child brains worked. Also to loop back on some of the things that we did as kids and be like, “Oh crap, that was probably not my best move!” But I’m sure that by the end of this, you might have a few stories of your own. Stay tuned, cause we would love to hear from you as well.
Hey, it’s Kat, operations manager here at Stratos. When I was a little kid, my one big act of rebellion at the Christmas season was to wear a bright orange t-shirt on Christmas morning so that I would ruin all of my mom’s Christmas pictures. My mom begged me to go and change into anything that wasn’t bright orange, so that all of her beautiful pictures on Christmas morning would not have her daughter in a construction worker orange t-shirt. But I refused; I would not change. There was no way. I had to wear that orange t-shirt, mostly just because it pissed off my mom.
The next year on Christmas Eve, my mom started a new tradition where all the kids and parents on Christmas Eve received Christmas-themed pajamas. They were not matching necessarily, but they all kind of coordinated. They all looked very nice and we were all required to wear our new Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning so that our Christmas pictures would have all of us looking nice and happy in our lovely Christmas pajamas and not my horrible orange t-shirt.
Ever since then, I have been just in love with Christmas pajamas. I love going to Target, going to Old Navy and seeing all the pajamas lined up to choose from. I send my mom’s suggestions of the ones that I would want for that year. We do Old Navy pajamas almost every year. Sometimes we’ll switch it up and do like Target or Kohl’s or something. But usually it’s Old Navy pajamas.
This year, I even got my Christmas pajamas early because I’ll be out of the country during the holiday season. And so my mom, when she came up for Thanksgiving weekend, brought me my old Navy Christmas pajamas so that I can pack them and take them with me. I feel like our family could be like the poster family for the problem that is solved by purchasing old Navy Christmas pajamas. Like you could write a whole commercial about, you know, “Do your kids ruin Christmas morning because they’re just wearing a horrible construction orange t-shirt on Christmas morning and you hate looking at your Christmas pictures because your kids are in these hideous outfits. Well, we have the solution by Old Navy pajamas!”
But maybe that’s just my marketing brain. Maybe that commercial actually probably wouldn’t go over very well with anyone except for our family. Mom, if you’re listening, I’m sorry I ruined Christmas that one year and I appreciate you. And I’m very thankful for my Christmas pajamas this year and every other year.
Hey guys, this is Kelsey from Stratos Creative Marketing. When I think back a lot of Christmas gifts that was marketed to me well, the one thing that stands out was my Furby. So in 1998, they came out with these toys called Furbies. They were basically a step up from a GigaPet. They were an electronic pet with an infrared sensor on their foreheads so that they could tell when it was daytime or nighttime or when it was appropriate to play with you. They had these big bug eyes and a weird beak, and they were really furry. They were really odd looking.
They spoke a language called Furbish, but as a child played with them, they would learn English. And I remember that when they came out in 1998, This was all I wanted for Christmas. I wanted a Furby so bad that anybody who asked me what I wanted, that is what I would tell them. I asked my parents for the Furby, I wrote to Santa about the Furby, anyone and everyone. And actually I was not the only, you know, young girl at that age that wanted a Furby. They were in such high demand. They were really hard to find and my mom even had to enlist the help of my aunt who lived in a different state to find the Furby for me and ultimately mail it to us so that I could have this thing for Christmas.
I actually read a news segment about a woman who purchased Furbies ahead of the Christmas season. And then when Christmas rolled around, she was selling them for double, triple, quadruple their price because people are willing to pay crazy amounts of money for them because their kids wanted them so bad.
Now, when I look back at the commercials, I honestly am not sure what it is about those that did it for me. If you can imagine a commercial in the nineties, you get what I’m saying, but if you can’t just go ahead and do yourself a favor in YouTube Furby commercials, and you might have a little bit of a laugh. But I think when I reflect on it, probably what the commercial did is that it spoke to me as an eight year old girl, my desire to have a pet, to care for something, a love for stuffed animals and things like that.
I did eventually get my Furby. My aunt ended up mailing him and he arrived on my back porch from Santa Claus who had forgotten him at the north pole. And that is why he wasn’t under my tree, of course. Now when I look back at my Furby and think about him, he was a little bit creepy. I mentioned before that they had infrared sensors, so they were supposed to be able to detect day and night.
I would put my Furby in the closet at nights with a blanket over him so that he would sleep. And then in the morning I would take him out, take the blanket off of his head and when he senses the sunlight, he would begin talking to me. Only sometimes in the middle of the night, covered in that blanket, in the closet, I would hear him yawn and say, “Good morning!” out of nowhere. Almost as if he was actually alive.
Hey everyone, this is Ryan and I’m a senior content creator here at Stratos. It’s not surprising to me that I am in marketing because when I was younger, I loved a catalog and I loved commercials. So Christmas time was perfect. I mean, I love a good theme. So holiday specific advertising was a favorite of mine. Flipping through a Sears and JC Penney catalogue to circle what I liked was always fun, but I really looked forward to commercials. And like any kid, when I saw other kids playing with toys that I liked on TV, it made me want them even more and I always added those toys to my Christmas list. Being a child of the eighties and nineties. I loved listening to music on a cassette player and I borrowed one of my parents handheld ones all the time.
So one year, I must’ve been six or seven. I was given a “My First Sony Boombox and Tape Recorder.” It was bright red with a cool nineties shape, nineties coloring. And I was so excited. I remember I recorded radio right away that day. Also my own voice — trust me, the irony is not lost on me that I’m recording this right now.
But the reason I share this story is because I actually did not see the commercial prior to getting this gift. So when I did see the commercial. I was very confused! And I actually thought, as you know, a curious and imaginative child would think, that the makers of my boomboxes came into my house and used my toy to film their commercial.
I have no idea why I thought that, but it is a memory I have to this day. Bonus about the holiday: not only did I get some sweet nineties cassette that player, I also got the “My First Sony Walkie-Talkies” that I had to share with my sister, that were also in that commercial that also made me think that they took those out of my house as well. Did you have any favorite holiday commercials or gift memories as a kid? I would love to hear them. And by the way, happy holidays!
Hey, it’s Justine here. So when we were talking about Christmas marketing, the first thing I immediately thought of was the Hess Truck commercials. In fact, these commercials have left such a huge impression on me that I even mentioned it to my husband a little while ago and I asked him, “Is Hess truck a gas station? Is that the gas truck? Why does it only come during Christmas time?”
And this confused my husband and he was like, “What are you talking about?” So I told him, “Well, you know, Christmas is coming and when Christmas is here, the Hess Truck is here.” I told him how familiar this jingle was to me because I remember hearing it every single Christmas time.
And I don’t think the actual commercials stuck with me because I still didn’t understand what was going on with the Hess truck. But my husband, however, was very familiar with these Hess truck toys. And explain to me how he had a friend in his childhood who would get these toys, collectible toys, every single year for Christmas.
So we ended up going on YouTube. We found videos of all the commercials from the different years, and it was fun seeing which of the toys my husband recognized from his childhood and explaining the toys to mek, like “Yeah, this one’s three and one!” or “This one is a truck with a plane and a helicopter!” We actually ended up seeing a current Hess chart commercial on cable TV the other day, too. And it’s just amazing to me how this commercial and the same jingle is still going strong.
Guys. Weren’t these stories great? Some of them are just so funny and others, I just, yeah. I’m like, “Dear Jesus, please don’t give me a kid who will wear orange shirts during our Christmas photos!” I’m just kidding, Kat. But anyway, I just wanted to remind you of what Ryann asked. If you have a story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Visit us on Instagram or head over to our website and shoot us an email.
We love hearing your stories. If we have enough good ones, maybe we’ll do a sequel to this episode. So. Guys, I hope your holidays, your Christmas, your new year, your Hanukkah, your Kwanzaa, whatever you’re celebrating, I just hope that you have time to rest and enjoy your family and enjoy those who are around you that you love.
And finally, just Merry Christmas from us here at Stratos and Marketing in the Wild.
friends. Thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe. So, you know, each time we have a new episode coming out, if you love our podcast, And want to give us a rating or a review. I promise we will read each and every one of them, a special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast.
We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.
Also, thanks to this Stratus team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys, lastly, listener, we’ll be back next to me and I hope you will be too.