Smart Christmas Calendar


HOK-Elanto had had a Christmas calendar on the Sokos Media Corner in 2011 and 2012, and they wanted it again in 2013. This time, unlike the previous years, the calendar had to have genuinely different content every day for 24 days. In addition, we had to design and produce the calendar using only the animation and image material from the previous year, made by Anima Boutique. The calendar was also supposed to promote the Digital Christmas Greetings site which we designed and produced. We had to find a way to bind these together.

The solution

Inspired by the challenge, we started to figure out how to produce 24 different interactions and not spend huge amounts of time on each of them. Also, we wanted to try something else than a cursor based interface for the interaction. Since we couldn’t use new animations and images, we knew that the Sokos Christmas characters should not play the main role here. However, there were a lot of good images of different objects and elements in the background of the previous year’s graphics.

This all got us thinking that the user could throw and move the objects with his or her own body! Using a physics engine we could define different parameters for each of the object and thus have all the different scenes done.

The connection to the Christmas Greetings site was designed as follows: In the calendar, the site URL would be promoted on screen. For every greeting card that was sent, the selected character would pop up on the calendar and promote the site.

The Santa Claus is inviting people to come closer and start playing

The implementation

We made 24 different objects that the user could interact with. Also, we created two different scenes of interaction: inside and outside. The inside scene was confined to contain the objects on screen – like floor and walls of the cabin. The outside did not have any borders for the objects so it created more open – “outside” – feeling. The objects inside included things like straw goats, toy cars, decoration, etc. Outside objects included snowflakes, star rain, snowmen, etc.

The real-time connection between the calendar and the greetings card was successful and it really enhanced the experience. When a user went to the calendar and sent a greeting card with a mobile device, the selected character popped up immediately to promote it.

Christmas Greetings Mobile Site
When nobody was using the calendar, Santa would float on it and invite people to come closer. Also, the greeting card URL was promoted by Santa. When a user stepped closer, Santa floated away and user’s silhouette appeared on the screen. Then, the user could start waving hands and moving to interact with the objects. There was no limit for the amount of simultaneous users. This way a whole family, for example, could play with it all at the same time and parents could help their children.

A user is bouncing stars inside the cabin
A greeting card has been just sent. The sender selected the piggie to deliver it (the black grid simulates the screen matrix of the Sokos Media Corner)
Again, the Christmas calendar caused a lot of joy among the users and spread the real Christmas spirit!