Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Norelco Santa Christmas Commercial

This Norelco Commercial Is A Truly Classic Santa Christmas Ad Fa La La La La

Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Well, look who just buzzed into town...
The Norelco Santa Christmas commercial is one of the most successful commercials in advertising history. This Norelco commercial that first aired in 1961 set the standard for holiday spots. Animation comes in all sorts of venues, not just films or television shows, and the Norelco Santa ad proves that quality animation can be outstandingly effective advertising.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Look, I know some of you are scratching your heads and thinking, a commercial? He's writing about a commercial? But let's just go with it, okay? These were classic spots.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Highlights from the famous Norelco Christmas spot.
The Norelco Santa spot is one of the most ubiquitous but little-discussed instances of cutting edge animation. Norelco is the American brand name for the electric shavers and other personal care productions of the Philips Domestic Appliances and Personal Care unit of the giant Dutch Philips company based in Eindhoven.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
They adopted this name because, back in the 1940s, Philco objected that "Philips" sounded too much like their name. So, Philips came up with a new name that sounds suspiciously like it came from Northern Electric Company or some variation on that. The name problem went away many years ago (Philips bought Philco in 1981), but by then Philips had built Norelco into a valuable brand. Since then, Philips has retained the Norelco trade name in the United States probably in no small measure because of the goodwill built up via the Norelco Santa Christmas commercial. And that, my friends, is a tale of how the tail sometimes wags the dog.
Norelco Santa Christmas commercials have been running since the 1960s, but only hit their stride in the 1970s. During that decade, the Norelco Santa was one of the most advanced pieces of animation anywhere, and not just in television commercials. Let's take a moment to appreciate the creative genius who somehow realized that electric razors have a vague resemblance to sleighs and ran with it all the way to the bank.
Santa Norelco razor animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
The Norelco ads became increasingly elaborate, with superior animation.
My personal favorite out of all the ads is the 1971 edition, which has snowman heads turning (including a female snow-person, in deference to who was almost certainly going to be the one buying the men their shavers) and an almost continuous Santa sleigh ride in the background. Later ads focused more on the actual products and less on Santa's sleigh ride - what nerve!
Norelco Print Ad animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Back in the day, Lady Norelco was revolutionary. Women have to shave?
The Norelco Santa Christmas ads were the only animations that many people saw every day on television. In quality, the Norelco Santa Christmas ad rivaled the Rankin/Bass holiday specials and often aired during them (Rankin/Bass may have had a hand in making the Norelco spots, too). People would get confused as to whether the Norelco Santa Christmas commercial was part of the show, which is every advertiser's dream.
Woolworth's Christmas book animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Lest you think that Norelco somehow invented commercializing Christmas...
In those days, animation on television was primitive, and it almost never was used in commercials, especially those targeted at grown-ups.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Quality animation was not what you would expect to see during that commercial break when it was time to go into the kitchen and fix a quick sandwich.
The accompanying Norelco Santa Christmas Commercial jingle to some versions - and it sure was a jingle in different senses of the word! - went: "Floating heads, floating head, floating all the way/Norelco is the shaving gift to give on Christmas day." Apparently, the voice-over was by Peter Thomas (or maybe Art Linkletter, they sounded quite similar).
The Norelco Santa Christmas commercials would end with the deliberate mis-spelling of "Norelco" to “Noëlco,” accompanied by the tag line, "Even our name says Merry Christmas." People "got" corny jokes like that in those days.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Political correctness eventually put a stop to that version of the Norelco Santa Christmas ad. Those were more innocent and less culturally sensitive times.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Santa taking off on his Norelco razor.
Unbelievably, the Norelco Santa Christmas commercials are still shown in some places today after taking a hiatus until 2011, when they returned in computer-generated form. They do not have the same high profile as once they did but rest assured that Phillips still gets mileage out of its razor-driving Santa.
Norelco Print Ad animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Print advertising tied in with the tv spots in a subtle fashion.
The latest Norelco Santa ad rolled out in 2011. It is called "Santa's New Ride" and fuses stop motion animation with CGI. The stop motion elements for this recent Norelco Santa ad were created by BixPix, while the blend of CGI and the stop motion footage was handled by re-think studios.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
It really doesn't look as though Santa uses that electric razor too often...
You may never see that ad, but it is proof that the Norelco Santa ad campaign not only survives but continues to push the boundaries of animation technology.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this visit down Norelco Lane.
Norelco Christmas commercial animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com



  1. "Floating heads, floating heads, . . .' I'm telling my son about the song in this old Norelco TV commercial. He doesn't believe me, so I go looking for it, and . . . bupkiss. Seems I am not the only one to remember it, but so far, no cigar. The ads I've seen look similar, Santa gliding over the snow on a sleigh made from the business end of a Norelco razor, and the tune sounds the same, but none of them use "floating heads" in the lyrics.

    1. I also remember the old add with Santa crossing a bridge to Floating heads