Elves and an Amazon Echo: a Christmas experiment

Innovation
tom.ollerton

The fear of being added to Santa’s naughty list is enough to keep most children well behaved(ish) all December long.

So this year, we decided to use our tech knowledge to lend a touch of Christmas magic to the parents who flaunt their connection with Santa and his team of elves as a bargaining tool.

Thanks to the real-life elves in our New York office, we got our hands on the new Amazon Echo Show (an upgrade to the Echo, allowing users to get both visual and audio content through the addition of a screen) before its official November UK release date, and decided to have some festive fun with it.



With a short turnaround time, it was all hands on deck. Fake snow was ordered, Elf costumes were delivered and our production studios were decked out. And with the combined efforts of all Santa’s helpers, our new ‘Head Elf’ Skill quickly came to life.



This festive season, thanks to the hard work of our team of creative elves, parents (currently those in the US) will be able to ask Alexa to ‘tell Head Elf that their child has been naughty or nice’ and be connected directly to the North Pole via a video or voice interface, where Santa’s Head Elf will reply with a series of pre-programmed responses.



The creative idea originated from one of our monthly Social Tech Experiments, where our teams come together from across the agency to try and master new creative technology, so that we can pass this knowledge along to our clients.

The ‘Head Elf’ Skill has been featured The Drum’s best agency Christmas campaigns of the year; and is available to download in the US directly on Amazon Echo and Echo Show devices, or Amazon’s Skill Finder.