Nimble Thinking Sparks Holiday Tradition

Kim PierceallMarketing

Most of us have heard newscasters and various info portals over the years mention something about tracking Santa’s progress on his global marathon. Turns out, the technology has been around for 50 years and began with a mistake.

A typo in the phone number for the big guy’s hotline resulted in kids inadvertently calling the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). But rather than focusing on the error, a “quick thinking colonel had his staff check the radar for sightings” to provide callers with an update. (See “Back on the radar: NORAD tracks Santa“.) After all, their mission is to monitor objects in space. They’ve been following the big red guy ever since, adding myriad bells and whistles to the service.

I think this is a compelling example of seeing the positive in what must have been a hectic and potentially über crap day for their team. But the person at the helm had an idea — and clearly a sense of humor. Now the Official NORAD Santa Tracker is online and available in seven languages. (He’s in Daegu, South Korea, this minute!) A great PR move that I’m sure George Bailey would sanction.

Many wonderous wishes from the Grotto gang to you and yours in this holiday season: Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy World Humanist Day and Solstice, Spiffy Boxing Day and enjoy National Whiners Day (12/26, really).