AT&T Is Using Facebook Live to Let Kids Interact With Santa Claus Before Christmas

Old-school tradition with new-wave tech

According to Possible's back-of-the-napkin math, around 6.6 million American children in the next year will decide that Santa Claus isn't real. The ad agency, working for client AT&T, wants to help keep the dream alive for kids this weekend with a little tech.

The endeavor, called Santa Live, starts today at noon ET on AT&T's Facebook page. Mrs. Claus and a group of elves will run around the scene preparing for Christmas as their theatrical companion, Santa Claus, holds court. Via Facebook Live, old Saint Nick will read the names of 200 kids who have been more nice than naughty this year.

AT&T's marketers have been encouraging parents to sign their children up for the event and send in stories written by their kids to potentially see Santa read them. The telecom is letting moms and dads know who made the list and when to tune in to hear their child's names being read out loud by Santa.

Whether or not they make the list, the Facebook Live audience will be able to interact with the actors by commenting in real time on the social site. Personalized videos, captured by camera crews, of Santa reading the kids' stories will be sent to each family as a keepsake.

In an email, a Possible rep said the brand aims to bring the fictional magic of the North Pole to social livestreaming. The effort, in particular, aims to push AT&T Mobility, and it builds on AT&T's ongoing "Thanks" customer loyalty program. The program has offered a variety of different benefits such as buy-one-get-one-free movie tickets on Tuesday nights and pre-sale access to concert tickets. 

"True appreciation is most authentic when you're paying it forward, it's unexpected and you expect nothing in return and this is an innovative way to say 'thank you' to our custumers," said Catherine Borda, AT&T Entertainment Group, director of customer loyalty. "We also understand that what customers appreciate the most are their loved ones, and through AT&T Thanks we want to be able to leverage our technology and scale to create lasting memories for them. So this holiday season, we are leveraging our technology to bring, who other than, Santa Claus, right to your device, via [Facebook Live]."

UPDATE: According to AT&T, in just a few hours on Friday, Santa Live garnered 69,000 views, around 1,000 Facebook shares and 5,600 comments.