Normally, the holiday season revolves around family and friends coming together. But last year, what should have been a joyous time instead magnified the challenges of living in a pandemic that forced people to stay apart.
Elite Multimedia Productions didn’t think it was fair for children to be deprived of their annual visits with Santa Claus, so the Nashville company came up with an alternative solution: a personalized virtual rendition.
Knowing that each family might like to take a different approach to Santa, offering as many variations as possible was important to Ben Anholzer, project manager at Elite.
“With our virtual Santa experience, we would work with each client to build a completely custom, high-resolution playlist of pre-recorded Santa videos,” he said.
Using a technical setup including an LED video wall and an audio package, families could then sign up for a specific time and use an iPad controller to choose a desired experience that allowed them to speak directly with Santa. Once that option was selected, they were taken on a “four-minute escape into a new realm,” as Anholzer puts it, followed by a photo op with Santa.
Beyond the priceless memories Santa creates, his annual presence is coveted by retailers nationwide who depend on shoppers coming out of their homes for a boost in brick-and-mortar shop sales. But with Elite’s virtual Santa experience, retailers could provide both continuous family entertainment and revenue-generating opportunities, like showing a holiday movie for families with socially distant seating when there weren’t big crowds for visiting Santa.
It also gave event organizers “the ability to feature pre-loaded sponsorship content,” points out Anholzer. “We know different companies rely on Q4 Santa events to bring families into retail. We wanted to get creative to help bring the magic of the holiday season to everyone at the end of such a strange and awkward year.”
A version of this article was originally published by Commercial Integrator.