Ornaments hang on a Christmas Tree

Pop Culture Incorporated: Why I’m Hiring Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”

It was while watch­ing “A Christ­mas Sto­ry” for around the 800th time over the week­end that I real­ized I should prob­a­bly offer Ral­phie a job.

Sure, there are some down­sides, most­ly that he’s fic­tion­al, lives in the 1940s and also is nine years old. But the upsides are plen­ti­ful. In his quest to per­suade his par­ents to buy him a BB gun as a Christ­mas gift, the per­sis­tent, cre­ative kid employs a num­ber of tried-and-true com­mu­ni­ca­tions strate­gies and tactics:

Key mes­sages: To make sure his audi­ence knows he wants not just any BB gun, Ral­phie gets extreme­ly pre­cise in his mes­sag­ing: He specif­i­cal­ly and repeat­ed­ly asks for a “Red Ryder 200-shot range-mod­el BB gun with a com­pass in the stock and this thing which tells time.” You know the mar­ket­ing adage that some­one needs to hear a mes­sage sev­en times for it to start to sink in? Accord­ing to IMDB, Ral­phie repeats that he wants the BB gun 28 times over the course of the film.

Paid media: Ral­phie strate­gi­cal­ly sneaks a BB gun ad into his mother’s copy of Look Mag­a­zine, so she “would find her­self clev­er­ly trapped into read­ing a Red Ryder sales pitch.” It’s a bulls­eye-shot exam­ple of deliv­er­ing con­tent to an extreme­ly tar­get­ed audi­ence, his mom.

Sto­ry­telling: Ral­phie gets his par­ents’ atten­tion at the break­fast table by clear­ly and com­pelling­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ing a prob­lem that get­ting his cov­et­ed gift could solve: A friend saw some griz­zly bears near the can­dy store. Yes, he made it up, so we’d have to work on that. But it did break through the noise. His father even put down his news­pa­per for a sec­ond to lis­ten to Ralphie’s tale.

Con­tributed con­tent: When his teacher assigns an essay detail­ing “What I want for Christ­mas,” Ral­phie sees an oppor­tu­ni­ty to build a coali­tion of sup­port. “I knew that when Miss Shields read my mag­nif­i­cent, elo­quent theme, that she would sym­pa­thize with my plight and every­thing would work out some­how.” Spoil­er alert: she didn’t.

Influ­encer mar­ket­ing: He ulti­mate­ly takes his case to the one guy who might be able to per­suade his par­ents, the depart­ment-store San­ta. Ral­phie wasn’t sure, but he sus­pect­ed that when a kid sat on Santa’s lap and told him what they want­ed for Christ­mas, the (not so) jol­ly old elf passed the mes­sage along to mom and dad. “Most of us were scoffers,” Ral­phie said. “But moments before Zero Hour, it did not pay to take chances.”

Even though Ralphie’s efforts were met with strong objec­tions every step of the way (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”), in the end, did he achieve his goal? As sure as Scut Farkus is a grade‑A jerk, Ralphie’s pow­ers of per­sua­sion did the trick.

So, con­grat­u­la­tions, and wel­come to Bell­mont Part­ners, Ral­phie. Your intern­ship starts Mon­day. But please leave the BB gun and your bun­ny suit at home.

Leave a Reply

Bellmont Partners Gives Back 365
November 21, 2022
What's Brewing designed graphic with coffee cup and headshot
What’s Brewing? with Jack Sundstrom, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Kevari
November 18, 2022
Five Lessons Ant-Man and Ted Lasso Can Teach Marketing Pros About Fundraising Events
November 14, 2022
Two women sit in a lounge chatting
Q&A with Bellmont Partners’ New Account Strategist, Stacey Robertson
November 7, 2022
Two women sit in a lounge chatting
Q&A with Bellmont Partners New Senior Account Executive, Amy Moon
November 2, 2022
A group of women sit chatting in a break room
Bellmont Partners’ Kalli Plump Named a Rising Young Professional
October 24, 2022