Santa has gone digital and is now settled happily in a virtual grotto, tweeting with good girls and boys, and posting personalized messages on his very own YouTube channel.
To facilitate communication with the new era Father Christmas, Telefonica's 02 has created the hashtag #02santa. Followers can tweet him a message that they'd like read out, and Santa will create personal video clips in response. Twitter users can then alert their friends, followers and family to the existence of the personal message by tweeting or emailing a link to it on Santa's YouTube channel.
The campaign, created by pr agency Hope & Glory, is running for a week, and wireless provider 02 promises that any messages received by Dec. 15 will be delivered in time for Christmas.
Alex Pearmain, head of social media at 02, said in a statement, "We felt that we should create something fun as an integrated aspect of our Christmas digital campaigning -- something that gets consumers involved with us and allows 02 to deliver a bit of entertainment during the festive period. Our social-media channels seemed the ideal platform to do this on, and we hope this campaign will help to cut through some of the current consumer gloom and spread some festive cheer."
Santa's introductory message on YouTube explains how the process works: "I am broadcasting live from the North Pole…I've decided to take a break from making and wrapping presents to take to Twitter and YouTube this year. Oh-ho yes, social media has come to us all…so if you would like me to send a little message to your family, friends or followers, just tweet the message you'd like me to read out. My elves will spot your message and pass it on to me."
Many of the messages so far are from adults, but aimed at children. @katiehayward sent a typical tweet, "Please wish Edie a very Merry Christmas, she'll leave a mince pie for you to help you on your Christmas Eve journey." Others are from grown-up believers, asking fr messages for colleagues and loved ones. @Eva4Eva tweeted, "Can you give my boyfriend Mario a big nudge about my present and you may as well wish him a happy Christmas whilst you are at it ;)"
On day two of the campaign, Santa had already created 400 personal messages in response to thousands of tweets received. He has had to brush up on his linguistic skills, after getting requests from non-English speaking tweeters. Jo Carr, a founder and managing partner of Hope & Glory, said, "It's less about the metrics and more about the surprise and delight. We've had lots of lovely comments by parents who've made films. This is ticking the box of being relevant to our key customers."