santa's little helper case study

Inspiring new supporters for Unicef UK

Campaign: Content and experience management, Marketing automation and personalisation | Experience: Motion and immersive content

Unicef defends the rights of children and young people across 190 countries, by providing clean water, life-saving food and vaccines, as well as providing education and protection from violence and abuse. Unicef UK is a registered charity that raises funds for Unicef’s work around the world and advocates for lasting change for children worldwide. To continue to protecting children in danger, Unicef looks to inspire a number of new supporters each year.

In December 2015, Unicef launched Santa’s Little Helpers, a Christmas-themed digital experience for parents and carers of young children. Santa’s Little Helpers aimed to introduce people to Unicef’s work, and give them the opportunity to help children through donating online, via SMS and over the telephone.

What we did

We’ve worked with Unicef UK on three iterations of the Santa’s Little Helper experience, building on its successes to improve engagement and results year on year.

In 2015

In the first year, we collaborated closely with campaign designers Open Creates to build digital experiences for two audiences: adults who were purchasing letters from Santa for their young children; and a game for children who’d received the letter. The game culminated in sending a virtual gift to a child in danger in another part of the world, educating the child about Unicef’s vital work in emergencies.

We helped get the first years campaign online quickly by advising on the best choice of technology to cut down on development time, creating a donation site which made use of PayPal integration, and building both desktop/tablet and mobile versions of a simple, yet engaging game for young children.

In 2016

In the second year, we worked with Unicef UK and Open Creates to review Santa’s Little Helpers, find new, exciting opportunities to improve the experience, and make it even more successful.

One of the learnings from the previous was that adults needed a greater incentive to start their journey. Recognising that the child’s experience provided the best opportunity to engage parents and carers further, we created a personalised, interactive ‘choose your own’ animated adventure.

The immersive, educational story, which begins in the North Pole, makes use of dynamic personalisation technology to show the child why they’ve made it onto Santa’s nice list, before Santa asks them to choose a country to visit and a gift to deliver to a child in need. The story ends with Santa placing the gift by the sleeping child ready for Christmas morning.

In 2017

For the latest iteration of Santa’s Little Helper, we worked with Unicef to optimise the user experience for both the adult and the child. We thoroughly reviewed the previous years’ results and engagement stats which lead to UX recommendations including:

• Improve the adults’ landing page to invite users into the journey;

• Redesign the registration journey to improve completion rates;

• Reflect the device choices of users by optimising journeys for mobile;

• Rethink the Gift Aid ask to improve take up;

• Understand how users experienced the page and their exit points

How it went

Together with Unicef, we optimised the landing page and registration journey, making the registration form simpler and clearer to improve completion rates. This saw the number of sign ups rise from 4,299 in 2016 to 15,747 in 2017 – an increase of 266%.

Our developments to the sign-up form, including splitting it up into three easy steps and putting a stronger focus on the child, improved form completion rates by 57%.

By improving the experience around completing the registration form, and by enhancing the child’s experience, 76% of adults were happy to provide their phone number to receive a non-mandatory voicemail. This equated to over 12,000 new people who might be interested in supporting Unicef’s work for children; a 333% increase on the previous year.

Despite the tremendous success of Santa’s Little Helpers in 2017, we’ve already generated a list of UX recommendations to further improve the campaign’s performance and experience for users in future years.


more sign ups


new leads


completion rate

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