Verizon's FiOS Offers Chats With Santa


Writing a letter (or sending an email) to Santa seems so quaint in the 21st century. To bring Santa into modern times, Verizon’s FiOS fiber optic service is giving people a direct line video chat with the big guy. 

Created by agency B-Reel and B-Reel Films, the interactive program sets up an interface that looks like a video chat with Santa, where they can type in their side of a conversation with Santa about what gifts they want for Christmas (and other questions). Depending on the gifts, Santa responds accordingly before being called away for a toy-making emergency. 

“We wanted to do something more designed and story-driven than the more direct marketing they had in the past,” Patrick Ehrlund, creative director at B-Reel, tells Marketing Daily



The goal of the campaign is to capture 25,000 FiOS-eligible addresses during this holiday season. So, users are required to enter their address before connecting to Santa (those who could use FiOS are shown an animation of the connection being made, while those who can’t use the service are just connected). Once the connection is made, users are given the opportunity to tell Santa whether they’ve been naughty or nice, ask for a gift and ask Santa any question they’ve always wanted, but have never had the chance.

“He’s meant to be a simple playful character,” Ehrlund says. “If you ask him for a basketball, he tells this story about how he used to be quite a baller before his body turned into a basketball.”

To accommodate the wide range of requests they seem likely to get, B-Reel created 300 scripts for Santa to use to answer any foreseeable questions. Though the company considered using voice-recognition for the interface, the technology isn’t developed or widespread enough to support it just yet, says Nicole Muniz, executive produce at B-Reel.

“We did some prototyping, but the speech recognition isn’t available [on all formats],” she says. “We wanted this to be as broad as possible.”

The company is promoting the Direct Line to Santa through FiOS’s social media channels and on Facebook and YouTube. The company is also offering a $200 gift card (packaged as a present from Santa) to help spread the world virally.

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