Toronto's Fashion Santa replaced, new one unveiled
Everyone’s favourite broody, debonair, and steely-eyed Santa Claus is being replaced this holiday season. In a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca, a spokesperson for Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre confirmed that model Adam Martin will be replacing Paul Mason as this year’s Fashion Santa.
According to Adrienne Simic, a spokesperson for the mall, they had reached out to Mason on “multiple occasions” for the 2016 holiday campaign and he didn’t respond.
“They held off very late in the season before moving forward with this current campaign in the hopes that Paul would continue to collaborate with them,” Simic wrote. “The Yorkdale team enjoyed working with Paul and remains open to working with him.”
Simic described Fashion Santa’s newest face as an “experienced, bearded model.”
“(He) is delighted to be involved in a marketing campaign that also raises funds for the SickKids Foundation,” the statement said.
The shopping centre donates $1 to the SickKids Foundation for every selfie photo taken with the stylish Santa shared using the hashtag #FashionSanta2016. Last year, Yorkdale donated $10,000 to the charity after the campaign’s hashtag was shared approximately 5,000 times according to Simic.
Fashion Santa made international headlines as Mason took on the role over the past two holiday seasons. Standing tall and slim at six-foot-one and lacking St. Nick’s traditional round belly, Mason’s depiction of Santa Claus was anything but ordinary. He ditched the iconic red suit and matching hat and wore fashion-forward outfits from various high-end designers in the mall’s photo shoots and videos.
The marketing campaign was a huge success for the shopping centre. Holiday shoppers lined up to snap selfie photos with the stylish Santa and Canadian and international media featured the trendy Kris Kringle in numerous stories, especially after pop superstar Justin Bieber took a photo with Mason last year.
According to the mall’s website, this year’s Fashion Santa will bring his own take on style and a “new edge” to the season. Martin has already been featured in a number of highly stylized photo shoots and videos posted on Yorkdale mall’s Instagram account and website. Where Mason was in his early fifties, however, Adam Martin is in his mid-thirties and has darker features as well. Martin is seen riding a motorcycle and wearing a pair of dark sunglasses in some of the campaign’s photos.
So what will become of the original, beloved Fashion Santa? According to Mason’s Facebook page, he’s not finished yet. On Tuesday, Mason posted a cryptic message hinting that he had something else up his sleeve.
“Hi everyone. The RealFashionSanta is still here. I will be announcing something very soon. Happy shopping,” the post said.
Mason’s fans have demonstrated their continued support for him online. Numerous angry comments posted on Yorkdale’s Instagram account slammed the mall for using a different model in the new campaign. Many users used the hashtags #bringbacktherealfashionsanta and #notmysanta to display their displeasure with the new Fashion Santa.
Jenjohnston23: “@yorkdalestyle shame on you! What an epic fail and disappointment to see a fraud as your "Fashion Santa." No one can replace @paulmasonmodel”
brunesucre20: “I want #realfashionsanta!”
dkto123: “Bring back the original Fashion Santa @paulmasonmodel. Don't mess with the original!”
wendyptl: “Where is #fashionsanta - who is this?”
A few commenters supported the new choice of model and weren’t upset about the change.
jeramiahmyrtle: “Hot New Fashion Santa on a hot bike! Loving the new look Yorkdale! #grumpyoldFSgetscoal.”
alexmccutch: “Love this new fashion Santa #waybetterthanlastyear #bulliesneverwin”
sherriagnew: “This Santa rocks! #slaybellsringing”