Getting dressed up to go to the mall to get your picture taken with Santa Claus has become a North American tradition, but now, Centennial Real Estate, which runs a national portfolio of shopping malls, is introducing a new twist – replacing the traditional Santa sets at four of its shopping centers with interactive augmented reality encounters inspired by three beloved holiday movies from Warner Bros. Pictures – The Polar Express, Elf and A Christmas Story.
The company plans to tour each of these new holiday experiences among its properties to provide guests with an exciting new encounter year after year. The initial four shopping centers are in Vancouver, Wa.; Milford, CT; Santa Ana, Calif. and Vernon Hills, IL.
"Just like all things in retail real estate, we're re-imagining how consumers experience our centers, and the holidays are no different," said Steven Levin, Centennial's CEO. "These magical and immersive experiences will engage and entertain guests as they wait to meet Santa Claus. With theatrical-quality set designs and rich storytelling brought to life using augmented reality technology, we're delivering unique multi-generational experiences that will delight our guests for many years to come."
Centennial partnered with creative agency Parker 3D to develop the new holiday sets, each with augmented reality apps. The company has also partnered with Agency808 to design a fourth experience based on one of the holiday season's most cherished children's books, The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.
"If you've ever waited in line to see Santa Claus with anxious children in tow, you know how tedious that wait can be. At Centennial, we've put a more modern twist on the way Santa visits and photos are done by creating interactive experiences with selfie opportunities and digital apps that make the wait as much fun as the visit with Santa," said Whitney Livingston, COO, Centennial. "Centennial is also going to be a trend-setter in the retail industry by touring these branded experiences among multiple mall properties, allowing each shopping center to provide a new experience to its guests each year."