Santa’s helpers: Spark connects kids with the elderly through its Santaline

To help Santa take requests for Kiwi kids’ wish lists, Spark, with Colenso BBDO and PHD, has brought in a group of retirees to man the Santaline.

For the past 24 years, Spark’s Santaline (0800 222 222) has been taking thousands of calls from Kiwi kids eager to let Santa know what they want, however, with so many the line would put the kids through to voicemail.

This year, Spark and Colenso BBDO have recruited some help in the form of elderly residents at Metlifecare Retirement Village who are manning the line for a few hours a day, five days a week, until Christmas.

The supporting campaign shows the helpers learning how to take calls, determine if the child is naughty or nice, and take down the requests.

It also explains that to qualify as a helper, the retirees needed to have at least 70 years of Christmas experience as well as a jolly disposition.

Since its launch on 4 December, the phone’s been ringing with call volumes up 40 percent on this time last year.

Colenso BBDO’s chief creative officer Levi Slavin says that when it came time to find Santa’s helpers, they knew exactly who they wanted to ask.

“With at least 70 Christmases under their belts, they were the most experienced candidates by a country mile. Luckily, the job had enough perks to lure them over. And we hear Santa makes a pretty good boss.”

Spark’s social communications manager Frith Wilson-Hughes adds that as well as having helpers with such experience, the campaign works to connect two different groups of people  – kids, and the elderly – in such a magical way.”

“And no offence to Santa, but after 24 years of voicemail, it’s very cool to finally have someone pick up.”


Client: Spark
General manager of customer and marketing: Clive Ormerod,
Head of brand communications and experience: Sarah Williams,
Social communications manage: Frith Wilson-Hughes
Agency: Colenso BBDO
Media: PHD
Production company: Untold Projects 

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