Santa’s Village turns kids into Facebook elves

As part of its online campaign, the theme park has released an Elf Makeover app and is staging an Elves on the Loose contest.

Bracebridge, Ont.-based Santa’s Village and Sportsland is branching out online to increase the theme park’s reach and awareness. The new web venture includes a Facebook group, which features an Elf Makeover app and a photo contest, plus banners and coupons on Markham, Ont.-based The Digital Channel developed the web-specific campaign. The Facebook group launched the week before Santa’s Village opened on June 20 and currently has almost 400 fans.

The Facebook effort is targeting mothers of children ages two to nine. ‘Moms are a very big community on Facebook because it’s a way for them to stay in touch with other moms so they don’t lose their sanity when they’re at home with the kids,’ says Margaret Goldby, VP, The Digital Channel. ‘They’re also sharing ideas about activities for the kids to do during the summer.’

The Elf Makeover app allows users to upload photos and place themselves in front of a Santa’s Village-themed backdrop in full elf regalia. And of course, share their elf selves with Facebook friends. At the park, kids are given an elf hat and invited to ‘be an elf for a day.’ According to Goldby, the app was about extending the in-park experience to the online world.

The Facebook group also features the Elves on the Loose photo contest, which invites users to upload photos of themselves or their kids wearing elf hats. Random draws will select 11 weekly winners who will win a Santa’s Village prize pack, and two monthly winners who will win a Canon digital camera. The grand prize for the most creative photo is a Canon HD Video Camcorder.

Santa’s Village is also attempting to connect with families looking for value with a big box ad and a sponsored deal on within the entertainment category. Both the ad unit and the sponsored deal link to a downloadable coupon for Santa’s Village. The Digital Channel created the ad and handled the media buy. The campaign ran the week of July 6, and will run again in August.