Colenso recruits old friends to answer Spark’s Santaline calls

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Spark and Colenso BBDO are bringing the magic of Christmas to life in a special way this year. For the first time in the 24 year history of the Santaline, Santa has recruited a team of old friends – elderly residents of Metlifecare retirement villages – to help him man the thousands of calls from young Kiwi kids this Christmas.

For the last 24 Christmases, Spark’s Santaline has received hundreds of thousands of calls yearly – all from excited Kiwi kids, eager to make sure Santa gets their wish-list.

But because Christmas is Santa’s busiest time of year, those calls have always gone straight through to voicemail.

This year will be a little different.

A new campaign from Spark and Colenso BBDO sees Santa recruit the Metlifecare friends to give him a hand answering calls for real – they’ll be manning the line for a few hours a day, five days a week, right up until Christmas.

“The phone’s been ringing off the hook – with call volumes up a staggering 40%.”

Colenso BBDO 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.”

“We’re so pleased that we can use Santaline to connect two completely different groups of people – kids, and the elderly – in such a magical way,” says Frith Wilson-Hughes, Spark’s social communications manager. “And no offence to Santa, but after 24 years of voicemail, it’s very cool to finally have someone pick up.”

The campaign launched last week, with a film on Facebook and Instagram. “Since then, the phone’s been ringing off the hook – with call volumes up a staggering 40% on this time last year,” Wilson-Hughes says.


Client: Spark
GM Customer & Marketing: Clive Ormerod
Head of Brand, Communications & Experience: Sarah Williams
Social Communications Manager: Frith Wilson-Hughes
Agency: Colenso BBDO
Media: PHD
Production company: Untold Projects

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