Sympatico.ca

Sympatico.ca
Ugroupmedia

Ugroupmedia

December 02, 2009 08:15 ET

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Makes Annual Visit From Santa Claus Possible Using the Portable North Pole

Innovative video platform from Sympatico.ca delivers personalized video messages from Santa - ideal for children's hospitals and daycares concerned about H1N1

TORONTO, ONTARIO and MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2009) - With the onset of flu season and the growing threat of H1N1, many children's hospitals are opting to play it safe by modifying or outright cancelling the annual visit from Santa Claus. When the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) recently decided to cancel their annual visit from Santa, they welcomed the Portable North Pole (PNP), an alternative and safe way to bring back what is traditionally the highlight of the season for its young patients. The Portable North Pole - which is being offered in Canada by Sympatico.ca - is a free and secure application used to create personalized video messages from Santa Claus.

"The Portable North Pole is adorable and will definitely be fun for our patients," said Marie Belanger, Events Specialist with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. "We are so happy to be able to offer these personalized video messages from Santa to our hospitalized children, especially this year, as our annual pre-Christmas visit from Santa has been cancelled due to concerns around the spread of the H1N1 virus. For sick children who won't be able to make it home for Christmas, Portable North Pole will help bring Santa and the magic of the season to their hospital room."

Launched last week by Sympatico.ca in partnership with UgroupMedia, the Portable North Pole is unlike traditional letters from Santa. Users simply go online, answer a few brief questions and in less than five minutes, a personalized and lifelike video greeting is created. Video messages can include the recipient's name, age, photograph, preferred gift, as well as the answer to one of a number of Santa's best kept secrets to help create a more convincing experience. Once the message has been created, it can be viewed immediately and then sent via email. With the click of a mouse, the video can also be easily shared with Facebook and Twitter friends.

"This year in particular, children's hospitals, daycares and elementary schools are facing unique challenges trying to balance their holiday season programming - like the annual visit to Santa - with the need to prevent the spread of the flu," said Martin Cere, Senior Director, Content at Sympatico.ca. "By using the Portable North Pole, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario is providing a fun new way for Santa to visit their young patients."

"It is tremendously rewarding for us to see how CHEO is using our unique video platform to help bring the magic back to children at Christmas time," said Alexandre Berard, CEO of UgroupMedia, creators of the concept and the Portable North Pole personalised video platform.

The Portable North Pole is now available in Canada and will run throughout the Christmas season and beyond - http://Santa.Sympatico.ca.

About Sympatico.ca

Sympatico.ca offers Canada's top selection of relevant French and English Canadian online content. Launched in 1995, Sympatico.ca has differentiated itself from competitors as an all-Canadian portal offering innovative solutions to both users and advertisers. Also recognized as an industry leader in mobile marketing, Sympatico.ca offers the largest mobile advertising network in the country. With its ability to reach more than 75% of Canadians online, unmatched online content and services, and the proven expertise of its team, Sympatico.ca is the online publisher of choice for advertisers (http://advertise.sympatico.ca/Home/).

About UgroupMedia

UgroupMedia specializes in the development and implementation of web-based personalized video solutions. Through the use of its patent-pending "U" platform, the company can offer its clients innovative custom-made video concepts to be edited in real time from the user's choices or from existing user profiles. The Portable North Pole's groundbreaking success (over 1.5 million users in Canada in 2008) has proven the scope of UgroupMedia's unique expertise and positioned the company as the leader in customized video content for the web. Additional information is available at www.UgroupMedia.com.

NOTE: PNP Portable North Pole(TM) is a trademark of UgroupMedia.

Note to Media:

- An online press room, along with a Portable North Pole demo, is available at http://santa.sympatico.ca/home/media

- High resolution photographs are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/portable_north_pole/

Contact Information