MEDIA: Dear Saint Rick - many thanks for the radio station

In the Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street, Hollywood put about the myth that Santa Claus exists and that he was Dickie Attenborough.

In the Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street, Hollywood put about

the myth that Santa Claus exists and that he was Dickie

Attenborough.



Those of a tender disposition can be forgiven for believing such a story

because there’s no one who can do a tear-jerker like old Dickie. Given

half a chance, he could probably convince some people that Harriet

Harman is the patron saint of single mothers.



But we know who the real Santa Claus really, really is. It’s Richard

Branson, of course, and it’s not just prima-facie evidence such as the

beard. In fact, superficially, Branson doesn’t appear to be a very good

candidate for the role of Santa Claus. His inability to stop the balloon

going up unannounced, never mind his complete failure so far to

circumnavigate the globe on his own hot air must have been troubling to

children everywhere.



But now the evidence is really overwhelming. No one but Santa Claus

would have given his radio station away to Chris Evans, someone who

couldn’t even manage to hold down a job at the BBC, a place where people

of quite modest talents seem to stay and even prosper.



Next Christmas, Richard Branson could silence the doubters by giving

Virgin Atlantic to Freddie Laker and Virgin Rail back to the government

because of the slight misunderstanding that Virgin was supposed to run

the trains better than British Rail.



In case there are still cynical wretches out there who refuse to believe

that Richard Branson is Santa Claus it is necessary in the cause of

intellectual honesty to look to see whether there are any rational

business reasons for the extraordinary Virgin-Ginger merger.



It has to be immediately conceded that there is only one person in the

UK who knows almost as much as Richard Branson about getting free

publicity for one’s own business interests and that is Chris Evans. When

things get tough, he is even prepared to sacrifice himself and go

drinking with Gazza.



It equally has to be admitted that now Evans is a multi-millionaire

gaffer there is a greater chance that he will turn up for work seven

days a week if necessary.



There is also the additional attraction that, should Richard Branson’s

two-way libel action with Guy Snowden, the boss of the lottery company

G-Tech which promises to be the legal hit of the year, drag on

interminably in the High Court next month, then Chris Evans could stand

in as global balloonist. He might not attract quite as many cameramen to

Morocco as Richard Branson but it would be close enough to avoid

seriously damaging either of their business interests.



There is also an international trend of sorts for jugglers and clowns,

particularly the clowns, to want to take over the circus.



Such arguments don’t amount to much. If Richard Branson were not Santa

Claus then it is obvious he would have gone ahead with his original plan

to merge with Capital - serious grown-up people who know about business

and commercial radio, even if they haven’t got any reindeer.



Raymond Snoddy is media editor of The Times.



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers