Who knew the urban US slang for a prostitute had made it to the other side of the world?
Apparently, the use of the word "ho" has become pervasive enough to force Santa recruiters in Sydney, Australia, to urge would-be St. Nicks to drop the "ho-ho-ho" this year.
According to an article in The Daily Telegraph, some volunteer Santas were asked to drop the catch-phrase because "it could frighten children and was too close to 'ho.'"
Christmas enthusiasts - and even children's advocates - all over the continent will be baffled by this latest attempt to make every public square antiseptic.
First of all, the fact that virtually no one - save for the genius behind this decision - ever equated Santa's catch-phrase with ladies of the night means this maneuver will achieve the opposite of its goal: linking Santa with tawdry affairs in the minds of all.
Secondly, a perhaps noble idea makes the recruiters look repressively bizarre. Did anyone stop to think how the media would run with this story once it leaked out?
Offered as an alternative to Santa's hos, some recruitment firms are recommending the jolly fat men say, "Ha ha ha" - a bad proposition if the laugh suddenly reminds children of every evil character that graces the morning cartoons. Bet the recruiters didn't think that one through.
Seriously, convincing the public that caging Santa's 'hos' is a necessary step in maintaining the innocence of Christmas-loving children everywhere would require a co-relational study between the Yuletide season and a spike in the prostitution business. And that would be a difficult road to hoe.
PR Play rating:
3. On the right track