Silver: Best Use of Event or Experiential Marketing (Five Venues or Fewer) 2015

  • Campaign: The Northpole Communication Station
  • Brand: Hallmark Cards
  • Agency: Kicking Cow Promotions

With its Northpole Communication Station, Hallmark Cards put a thoroughly 21st-century spin on the venerable Christmastime customs of writing letters to Santa and reciting a wish list while sitting on Mr. Claus’s lap. At the same time, it managed to retain the sense of wonder and joy for kids and parents alike, all while promoting the company’s new Northpole line of Christmas decorations and gifts.

Working with Kicking Cow Promotions, Hallmark hosted events in five locales—New York City’s Times Square; Orlando, FL; Kansas City, MO; Dallas; and Los Angeles—the centerpiece of which was the Northpole Communication Station. The large kiosk, designed using the same colors and themes as Northpole Communicator product, an interactive microphone that enabled kids to “call” Santa and his elves every day from Dec. 1 through Christmas.

Kids visiting the Communication Station could choose from an oversize map of Northpole (the city where Santa and his elves live, of course) a location to call, such as the Claus residence or the toy workshop. If you still believe in Santa, you might want to skip this next part: While the kids did hold live conversations, the “elves” they spoke with were voice actors in a different location. As the kids chatted away, brand ambassadors took photos of their reactions that the parents could immediately share on social media via the brand ambassadors’ tablets; parents also received a printed copy as a keepsake. Geotargeted Facebook invitations and emails, local bloggers, and live radio remotes promoted the events.

A dedicated website enabled those who didn’t live nearby to share the fun. Not only did the site provide a glimpse into the magical city of Northpole, but it also offered daily Christmas countdown activities and introduced the Northpole product line. A Hallmark Channel original movie, Northpole, added to the synergy.

More than 3,100 kids spoke with Northpole residents at the five live events, which garnered 515,590 impressions, results that made Hallmark executives nearly as jolly as St. Nick himself.