One of the fondest holiday memories I have is back in the early 90's spending Christmas with my cousins and calling Santa Claus through his "hotline." I remember my aunt dialing and handing us the phone just as Santa's message came on -- he was a bit tied up getting everything ready for the big night, but encouraged all children to leave a message on his answering machine. We must have called for a week straight taking turns. We've come a long way thanks AT&T, Possible and the wonders of the internet.
The event came about in part because 6.6 million kids from ages 7-9 will stop believing in Santa Claus this year, according to a story in The Atlantic, which shows stats of ages where kids stop believing in the jolly old elf. Those involved in the Santa Live campaign wanted to utilize the latest technology to help keep the dream alive for kids.
The endeavor, called Santa Live, took place on December 23rd on AT&T's Facebook page. Mrs. Claus and a group of elves ran around the scene preparing for Christmas as their theatrical companion, Santa Claus, held court. Via Facebook Live, old Saint Nick read the names of 200 kids who had been more nice than naughty this year. OK, so maybe it’s wasn't Santa’s real workshop. It’s actually a ranch in Agua Dulce, California (shhhh, don't tell the kids), but the expansive, woodsy ranch is perfect as a backdrop for Santa and his elves. It even features a reindeer barn.
AT&T's marketers encouraged parents to sign their children up for the event and send in stories written by their kids to potentially see Santa read them. The telecom then informed moms and dads who made the list and when to tune in to hear their child's names being read out loud by Santa. According to AT&T, in just a few hours on Friday, Santa Live garnered 69,000 views, around 1,000 Facebook shares and 5,600 comments.
Whether or not they made the list, the Facebook Live audience was able to interact with the actors by commenting in real time on the social site. Personalized videos, captured by camera crews, of Santa reading the kids' stories was also sent to each family as a keepsake.
The live show was produced by the Seattle office of global agency Possible, which has been collaborating with AT&T for over five years. The Santa Live broadcast utilized technology to transport children, via Facebook Live, to the North Pole giving kids a glimpse of Santa’s workshop and North Pole home, where elves were preparing the presents and the reindeer prepped for their flight just two days before Christmas. Talk about “feel(ing) the chaos and magic that is December 23rd as Santa and crew prepare for their long journey.”