Projects: Virtual Santa HQ At US Malls

November 24, 2014 by Dave Haynes


The days of it just being enough to park your kid on Santa’s lap and maybe pay for a pic appear to be fading as shopping malls in the U.S. – and no doubt elsewhere – are layering in technology to make the thing both experiential and branded. With it being sooo much easier to shop off a laptop or tablet and get it delivered, malls need to steadily create reasons why consumers will get in a vehicle and drive to the clogged lot of a mall.

This is a USA Today video, accompanying a story, talking about the virtual Santa HQ experience the mall operator Macerich is doing at a Tysons Corner, VA mall and nine other malls in the group.

The Macerich Santa HQ is branded as an HGTV (a home decor TV network) experience that has several zones, including areas where kids work with a screen to find out whether they’ve been naughty or nice, augmented reality using tablets, and a dancing elves thing that looks like it might be made by the JibJab guys.

“There are so many different ways to compete for peoples’ attention,” Kurt Ivey, vice president of marketing for Macerich, told USA Today. The virtual Santa HQ “gives us another added way to really make an impact and make it more relevant for today’s consumer.”

The overt sponsored thing seems a little much, but I suppose being concerned about over-commercialism during the holiday season got pointless years ago.

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