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The Queen makes her annual pitch for the monarchy in her 2010 Christmas address.


1. Why does CBC hate Christmas? What – you don't think it's true? Then what other possible explanation could there be for the corporation's bizarre decision to stick a thumb in the eye of this most gleefully consumerist of holidays by – gasp! – running its English-language TV programming on Christmas Day without commercials?! A sponsorship by TBooth, the wireless phone retailer, is apparently behind the move. But don't fret! We took a look at the shows airing on Sunday, and we found lots of commercial messages. At noon, it's The Queen's Christmas Message: boom, an ad for the monarchy! And Miracle on 34th Street? Why, that's a 90-minute ad for Macy's, of course. Spend, spend, spend, for Christmas comes but once a year! Which reminds us: Do you know that song, All I want for Christmas is some debt relief?

2. While we're quoting made-up pop culture, do you remember when Mark Zuckerberg declared that ads aren't cool? True, it was actually Justin Timberlake playing Sean Parker in that Facebook movie, but Jesse Eisenberg/Mark Zuckerberg totally nodded along in agreement. Nowadays everyone at Facebook believes ads are cool, and this week the company offered up some details about the announcement it made back in September that it would introduce ads straight into users' news feeds. "It now costs more than $1-billion per year to run Facebook, and delivering ads is how Facebook pays for this," explained a post, which made the company sound like a digital version of the Salvation Army. Which means now all we see in our head is Mark Zuckerberg singing Christmas carols out on the street as a little red pot swings back and forth.

3. Still – not to go all Sally Field on you, but: We like you, Facebook, we really like you! Or, rather, we "Like" you! But what does that mean? That's the question the online journal eMarketer grappled with this week, as it dissected a recent study from the CMO Council and the social CRM firm Lithium about the expectations that people and brands carry with them when they venture online. While most consumers hit a company's "Like" button because they want to get access to exclusive offers or updates, 53 per cent of marketers think a "Like" means people find their published content to be agreeable. Yikes. We thought it was tough to figure out the meaning of life. Turns out we don't even know the meaning of Like.

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4. But we do know the meaning of Christmas! Last month, we told you about an advertising award for a campaign in Colombia last year that decorated trees in the jungle strongholds of FARC rebels with Christmas lights, persuading a few hundred fighters to demobilize. This year, the campaign is sending hundreds of small, crystal-like balls bobbing down the jungle rivers, filled with handwritten appeals from the rebels' families. The balls, which are charged during the day by solar energy, glow a gorgeous purple at night. And if the rebels hurry, they can still make it home for Christmas. Heck, we'd be happy to swap places! Because honestly, after a month of listening to Christmas tunes in the malls, we're ready to find a nice quiet spot in a jungle somewhere.

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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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