Since 1993, Spark has been connecting hundreds of thousands of Kiwi kids to the North Pole every Christmas through their dedicated answerphone service, Santaline.
However, with the rise of the internet, and accessibility of other more engaging Santa experiences, a phone call was now perceived as rather old-fashioned by millennial parents and, particularly, their children – digital natives who are growing up among the world of iPads, YouTube, and Netflix.
The Santaline was tired, lacked the magic it had traditionally held, and, in 2017, had simply become old fashioned.
So, for Christmas, Spark needed to do something drastic. Increasing calls to Santaline was an ambitious business challenge, given that calls had been decreasing 22% year-on-year. The answerphone service needed to be reinvigorated and New Zealanders needed to be reminded that Santaline was still an awesome Kiwi tradition, powered by Spark.
This had to be done amongst the clutter of Christmas messaging, and create a truly magical and emotionally-rich experience for Kiwi kids across the nation.
A crew of elderly ‘elves’ were recruited to help man Santaline, so that for the first time in 24 years, Kiwi kids could ring up Santaline, and speak to a real person.
Spark partnered with Metlifecare, one of New Zealand’s biggest retirement home providers, to recruit a network of old friends who were keen to help. The only requirements were a minimum of 70 years of Christmas experience, and a cheery disposition.
And calls poured in, with volumes up substantially on the same period last year, helping give more Kiwi kids a magical Christmas.
Over 140,000 calls were made to Santa and his elves.
One in six Kiwi kids interacted with Santaline, making it a happy Christmas all round.