D R U M R O L L p l e a s e . . .
Announcing AsioStudio’s first annual BEST PERSONAL BRAND OF THE YEAR AWARD
… But first, a couple questions, do you think Kim Kardashian can rub elbows with Google’s best and brightest? Can Taylor Swift waltz into NORAD’s Headquarters and ask for a huge algorithmic boost? Nope! There is one and only one who has that kind of social clout, the man-elf himself, Mr. Santa Claus.
On December 24th this year, as in many years past, Santa will have not one but two major sites tracking him and his shiny reindeered sleigh’s progress as they travel the world, delivering spangles and bobbles to happy children everywhere. Those sites? Google and NORAD, of course.
The NORAD story goes all the way back to 1955, when a Colorado Springs newspaper published the wrong telephone hotline phone number in a Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement. In reality, the number belonged to the then, Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center’s Commander-in-Chief’s operations hotline. CONAD later became the North American Aerospace Defense Command NORAD in 1958.
I’m sure the Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, answered the first call with a bit of trepidation. It was one of the famous ‘Red Phones’ of the ‘50’s that would only ring if the nation was under attack. When he picked up the receiver what he heard was a child’s voice asking, ‘Is this Santa Claus?’
After a sufficient amount of Ho Ho-ing, Colonel Shoup asked to talk to the child’s mother. She told him about the advertisement and the phone number printed there. The calls kept coming. Colonel Shoup called in some reinforcements to assist.
At one point he even called a radio station and said, ‘This is the commander at the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object. Why, it looks like a sleigh.’ The radio station would make regular on-air updates. A tradition was born.
From the website, NORADSanta.org, they further explain, ‘Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world. In addition, we now track Santa using the internet. Millions of people who want to know Santa’s whereabouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa® website.
I have watched the progress of NORAD’s Christmas Eve Santa website over the years to the point that it has become part of our own holiday tradition.
The 2014 site is filled with games, videos, music, holiday traditions from around the world and a host of other goodies to keep anxious pre-flight watchers entertained,
I am not as familiar with the history of Google’s Santa Tracking site. I can tell you that it is filled with so many interactive goodies that you and your little ones could start playing right now and not be finished with the fun before Jolly Old Saint Nick lets out his first HO, HO, HO.
And HO, HO, HO he will, our Personal Brand Man of the Year. Not only does he have two of the world’s most prestigious juggernauts dedicating magical websites to him – he also has a network (of animals, elves, children of all ages, advertisers and one red-nosed shining celeb in his own right) to be mighty proud of.
This just in, NPR’s StoryCorps has just released an interview with Terri Van Keuren, Rick Shoup and Pamela Farrell, children of Col. Henry Shoup. They tell the story in their own words, NORAD’s Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport. How inspiring is that?