Dec. 24 - If Santa was a brand, he'd be the most valuable in the world and worth $1.6 trillion, according to brand experts. Ivor Bennett reports that some top firms could learn from Santa's global appeal.
Jingle bells? More like jingle sells. If Santa was a brand, he'd be the most valuable in the world - worth a staggering 1.6 trillion dollars. That's the amount of GDP he's thought to have stimulated during this year's festive season. Brand expert David Haigh came up with the figure. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID HAIGH, CEO, BRAND FINANCE, SAYING: "We estimate something in the order of 800 billion dollars worth of retail have been incurred this Christmas alone. We also estimate that about 500 billion transport costs have been incurred, and about 200 billion of accommodation and hotels. So very substantial amounts. All attributable to the Christmas holiday, which is led by Santa Claus." SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "As you can see it's not hard to find something Santa-related here in London. Cards, clothing, food and drink - you name it, brand Santa has it. And it's perfect, if you need to do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping." OK, so it's no longer a secret he lives in Lapland. But Father Christmas was actually born in Turkey, way back in 250 AD. The headstart's helped him and his elves create a brand that dwarfs even the biggest of 2013. Tech giant Apple for example is valued at a relatively paltry 87 billion dollars - barely half of Santa's haul. But so long as they've been good this year, he may just let them in on one of his secrets. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID HAIGH, CEO, BRAND FINANCE, SAYING: "The main lesson to be learnt from Santa is that global brands need to be adapted. And in each country he has a different name, and a slightly different person. So it's a global brand with local application. And I think the other thing they have to learn is, there's no substitute for being jolly." The other thing that helped of course was that deal with Coca Cola in the 1930s. It may not have created the famous red and white robes, but it certainly helped sharpen them up. From Mexico to Belarus, Spain to South Korea - his image is the same the world over. And as more countries recognise him, his value is expected to only increase. No wonder he's laughing - laughing all the way to the bank.