He is grotesquely overweight. He is childless. He lives in the chilly and undesirable North Pole. He insists on dressing in a bright-red jumpsuit with fur trimmings. He can only ever find employment on one day a year, and, even then, it is night work.

On every accepted level, Santa Claus is a total loser.

Yet this is a man who heads up a brand that commands 98 percent global recognition. Furthermore, he is universally adored.

How does he do it?

In a controlled research investigation involving uninterrupted surveillance videotaping, a sustained loop of twinkly music, and state-of-the-art merriness-determination equipment, a Dutch santologist named Hans Bunquum discovered the secret to Claus’s phenomenal success.

“The conclusion is both remarkable and inescapable but also—most importantly—counter-intuitive,” Dr. Bunquum told me over a glass of organic lemonade in his stunning waterstulp, or waterside studio, near Rotterdam. “To become the object of universal love, one must first live with a red-nosed reindeer, and then gain a premier position as the sole registered employer of elves in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s as simple as that.” Malcolm Gladwell & more.