Some women want to sit in his lap, others are appalled by his “hipster” look. One thing’s for sure, a department store’s fashionable “Mr. Claus” is heating Christmas up in Mexico.
The upmarket Palacio de Hierro has caused a social media storm since its slimmed-down version of Santa Claus appeared on giant billboards across the mega-city.
Mr. Claus’ long white beard is recognizable, but his high cheekbones and stylish burgundy coat are the mirror opposite of the jolly, plump Santa in the red suit.
On Twitter and Facebook, the reactions have been more “ha-ha-ha” or “no, no, no” than “ho-ho-ho.”
“It’s official, I have recovered my faith and Christmas spirit,” tweeted @IamPinkMystery while @Daflette asked: “At which @palaciohierro will #MrClaus be so I can go sit in his lap and tell him what I want?”
Another, @BizcoBecks, commented: “It’s good to see Santa outside his costume, elegant and even sexy. It’s always good to innovate.”
But many others think the campaign is, well, a bit naughty for Christmas.
“Your Santa scares me” or “This Santa Claus looks like a psychopath from the series ‘Criminal Minds'” are some of the most negative reactions.
Others, like @compayin, don’t like the look: “Are you kidding me, Santa Hipster?” Some found him way too slim, with @tramosg lamenting that “Santa isn’t so skinny!!! Give him something to eat.”
The campaign’s creator is Nacho Borja, creative services coach at advertising firm Teran\TBWA, who said the goal was to find a character that represented Palacio de Hierro’s spirit and to “reinvent” the holiday message.
“We aren’t really saying that this character is Santa Claus. It’s ‘Mr. Claus.’ It’s something else,” he told AFP, adding that the feedback has been mostly positive.
“That’s the mystery. Mr. Claus is in reality like a sommelier of style who can guide you in your shopping,” he said.
Palacio de Hierro has even created a Facebook page for Mr. Claus, where he answers messages.
One woman asked: “#DearMrClaus how do you see yourself inside my (Christmas) stocking?” But Mr. Claus didn’t reply to that one.
The campaign is similar to the “Fashion Santa” of Yorkdale, a shopping center located closer to the North Pole: in Canada. Borja said the similarity is an “unfortunate coincidence.”
In fact, Yorkdale uses the same model as Palacio, Paul Mason, a Canadian who has been modeling for 30 years.
Mason is taking selfies in a shopping center in Toronto as part of a campaign to donate money to the Sick Kids Foundation.
But will he hop on his sleigh (or plane) and visit his Mexican fans?
“It’s a possibility, but we don’t know,” Borja said, joking that it’s part of “the Mr. Claus mystery.”