A nice little viral Christmas story

One of the most memorable product placements in cinematic history has to be the Red Ryder BB Gun in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story about a boy who leaves clues (in the form of print ads) for his parents as they prepare to play Santa.  Talk about aspirational! The Red Ryder from Daisy has been around since 1938 and is still sold solo or as part of the Red Ryder Kit, complete with air rifle, shooting glasses, two ShatterBlast stakes, eight ShatterBlast targets, PrecisionMax BBs and Red Ryder collectible tin of BBs, all for only $68.99.  Note to parents: The boy in the movie lacked the shooting glasses, though his own glasses were destroyed in a mishap involving the BB gun following the traditional warning that he would “shoot his eye out with that thing.” Subtle product placement is an art, and the late “Christmas Story” author Jean Shepherd was a master at weaving extraneous threads into a flowing tapestry. You could make a case that he was one of the pioneers of viral marketing. Conspiring with his radio listeners to go to book stores and ask for I, Libertine he was able to drive the title to The New York Times Best Seller List in 1956.  The only problem, the book didn’t exist, so he and co-author Ted Sturgeon wrote it for Ballantine Books.