CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Eaton's and the Santa Claus Parade

Media Studies, Business Studies
4 to 5 lessons
To understand the components of a successful promotional campaign
Students will evaluate the rise and fall of Eaton’s sponsorship of the Santa Claus Parade and develop a campaign promoting a sponsorship opportunity for a current Canadian retailer.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Collect newspapers and magazines for students to browse. In groups of two or three, have them look for promotional events taking place in your area. Students will summarize all the promotional events they find, including the event name, location, date and time, and any sponsors for the event.

Have groups present their findings and create a master list of events and sponsors. Ask: Why would companies and organizations sponsor these events? What benefits do the sponsors expect?

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Eaton's: A Canadian Institution on the CBC Digital Archives website to thoroughly review the clip 'Eaton's Santa Claus Parade.' Have them work in pairs to note the atmosphere surrounding the preparations and running of the Santa Claus Parade each year and the resources Eaton's dedicated to this event.

Pairs should then view the additional clips 'Eaton's axes Santa' and 'Santa costs too much' to note why Eaton's stopped funding the parade in the early 1980s.

As a class, discuss Eaton's experience with the Santa Claus Parade. Gather ideas from students as to why Eaton's would have spent so much time and money sponsoring this event for over 75 years.

Pairs will then develop a multi-media presentation that outlines a sponsorship event or promotion campaign for a current Canadian company. The presentation should outline the event to be sponsored, the rationale for sponsoring the event, the link to the company's products and services, and the expected benefits to the company. During class presentations, a panel of judges will choose the best sponsorship idea.

Revisit and Reflect

Select a panel of judges, which could include fellow teachers, school administrators, or local business owners/managers. Judges can use the download sheet The Santa Claus Parade. Have students present to the audience, allowing the judges to determine the idea with the most merit.


Pairs can develop a budget for their sponsorship ideas, detailing anticipated costs for the event. They should consider advertising, human resources, supplies and materials, and any other costs related to their event.


  • newspapers and magazines

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