I-Spy Santa
Santa

Ben O'Hara

From shows to installations, we create entertainment experiences that connect people. We think unconventionally. We do things differently. We create the unique. We set the stage, the memories are theirs....forever

August 25, 2022

The UK might only just be surfacing from the hottest summer on record, and it’s true to say that as I sit and write this article, my garden’s perennial boarders have practically dried up to a sand-dune like state, victims to the ongoing hosepipe ban. BUT there is no denying that Christmas is just around the corner and those of us who work in the entertainment and events industry are probably already up to their baubles in mistletoe and wine.

Now, we like to think we know-ho-ho a few things about Christmas. We’ve designed Christmas events and concepts all over the world, from Aberdeen to Abu Dhabi! If you know anything about The Business Creative, you’ll know that we like to do things differently. You won’t be surprised to hear that we’ve put Santa in a Lion’s enclosure, Rudolph next to rollercoasters, and even created snowball fights in the desert. And as this year is no exception, we’re working on a Christmas-cracker of a concept that is going to add a layer of magic like never before.

SANTA DOES EXIST

There is little more magical than a child’s innocent belief in Santa. As a child, I vividly remember having a long conversation with Santa as I sat in front of our family fireplace. I told him about the Luke Skywalker Star Wars figure I so desperately wanted, and no doubt listed a hundred toys that my parents had never even heard of. Until this point, I was nonplussed. This was just another person ‘claiming’ to be Santa, just I’d seen in the shopping centre a few weeks before.

That was until, to my astonishment, it seemed Santa actually did know all about me.  He asked me if I enjoyed playing Joseph in the school nativity play. He asked me about the tinned peaches and evaporated milk I’d eaten at my Nan’s house the day before, and EVEN suggested that it might be a good idea to say sorry to my sister for pulling the leg off her Barbie doll. How could he possibly know this?

THAT WAS IT! That was the moment when it was truly confirmed – Santa IS real. There IS a naughty and nice list, and he DOES say ho-ho-ho and he DOES see everything … otherwise how could he possibly have known all that stuff about me? That moment has stayed with me to this day. I remember the goosebumps, the excitement, and the joy. What a memory!

In reality, the whole thing was a stunt. My dad had climbed on to the flat roof of our extension and was shouting down a gas vent. I, on the other hand, was sat on the floor, talking into the ceramic element of our gas fire. There wasn’t even a chimney! But of course, it didn’t matter. The magic was real.

HOW DO WE MAKE THEM BELIEVE?

Fast-forward 40 (ish) years and, being tasked with how to make Christmas even more magical for our clients, I have regressed to that ceramic element several times, trying to work out how we can re-create the affirmation that Santa really does exist. With immersion, involvement, and interaction at the heart of everything we do at The Business Creative, the team have put their creative cogs in motion, and I’m pleased to say that we are in development of one of the simplest, yet effective pieces of tech that will revolutionise the authenticity of Santa’s Grotto across the world.

 

THE MAGIC

I-Spy Santa is a clever yet hugely effective concept that ensures each child is put at the centre of the experience. Through a series of simple yet subtle interactions, I-Spy Santa will personalise a child’s interaction with Santa, ensuring the Big Man himself knows all about the child in question, their likes, dislikes, gift ambitions, and even whether they should be on the naughty or nice list! When operating within a theme park or attraction environment, the system can even tell Santa what rides a child has been on, what interactions they’ve had, or even what they’ve had for lunch. Santa really can see everything!

With simple pre-registration and subsequent web-app activation, the required interaction for a responsible adult couldn’t be simpler (and it certainly beats climbing on a flat roof and shouting into a gas vent).

I-Spy Santa is the simplest of overlays to any meeting Santa experience, but is guaranteed to ensure a no-no-no to a generic ho-ho-ho. This will be a moment that they will remember forever. We’re hugely excited to roll this system out for testing very soon – watch this space for I-Spy Santa transforming Santa interactions at an attraction near you this December.

If you’d like to hear more about I-Spy Santa or any of our other creative concepts, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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