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Gresham College: Christmas Lectures: Marketing Santa – The Business of Santa Claus in Lapland


About this series

This three-part celebration of Christmas starts with the man many think is the author of the modern celebration, Charles Dickens, looks at how Santa Claus has become big business in Finland through the power of marketing, and culminates in a musical celebration of the year the Christmas Carol went viral: 1928.

About this lecture

The myth of Santa Claus has been translated into an extraordinary market on a global scale. We see Santa everywhere in adverts and products, and people also travel quite long distances to meet the ‘real Santa’ in his faraway home.

The first Concorde flight from Britain to Northern Finland was organised in 1984 with around 100 passengers wanting to experience the magic of Christmas in this authentic setting. But how did this marketing success materialise? How did Finland become the home of Christmas?

About Dr Teea Palo

Dr Teea Palo is a Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Edinburgh Business School. She gained her doctoral degree at Oulu Business School, Finland, and lectured at Lancaster University Management School during 2014-2018.

As a native of the Finnish home of Christmas, Lapland, Dr Palo’s current research on Christmas tourism is inspired by her homeland. She is particularly interested in the work of businesses and other actors in making and shaping markets through storytelling and myth-based marketing. Her work explores ways in which actors develop, circulate and share stories of imagined markets, and how such stories are translated and materialised into markets.

Dr Palo’s work has been published in key marketing and organisational studies journals, including Organization Studies, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, and Consumption Markets & Culture.


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