November 24, 2009 08:10 ET

Santa Comes to Life in Personalized Video Messages, UgroupMedia and UNICEF Canada unite to transform the traditional 'Letter from Santa'


Editors Note: There is a photo and a video associated with this Press Release. has teamed with UgroupMedia and UNICEF Canada to launch the Portable North Pole™ (PNP) across Canada. This free and secure application lets Canadians create a personalized video message from Santa Claus, which their kids, family members and friends can watch online and share with others.

Unlike traditional letters from Santa, Portable North Pole users simply go online, answer a few brief questions and in less than five minutes, a personalized 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 friends or Twitter followers.

New for 2009 are adapted scenarios tailored specifically to kids under two and those who are between three and 11 years old. Kids will now also get to see a map that will track Santa and his reindeer as they travel from the North Pole to their homes. A fun version is also available for adults. Kids waiting in anticipation for their Christmas gifts will respond with surprise and delight, while adults get to re-live their childhood memories and truly embrace the spirit of the holiday.

According to Martin Ceré, Senior Director, Content at, more than 1.5 million videos were produced last year using Portable North Pole, generating over 5.7 million views. "The Portable North Pole was a phenomenal hit last year, and this year promises to be even bigger and better as we bring back this unique Christmas experience to both kids and adults across the country."

"This year, we've really pushed the envelope by adding more ways to customize the content and ensure these high quality video productions make the experience even more realistic," says Alexandre Bérard, CEO of UgroupMedia, creators of the concept and the Portable North Pole personalised video platform. "We encourage all Canadians to take a few minutes to experience the digital magic of Christmas." and UgroupMedia have also partnered with UNICEF Canada. Portable North Pole users can now opt to make a donation to this worthy cause after creating their video message. "Canadians are renowned for their generosity at this time of year, and we've made it possible for them to brighten the lives of the children that are closest to them, as well as children around the world who rely on the support of this incredible organization," says Patrick Larouche, director of marketing,

"The Portable North Pole is a fun and innovative way to get ready for the holiday season, and we are excited to be a part of it this year," says Leanne Nicolle, Director of Corporate Development for UNICEF Canada. "Canadians who donate to UNICEF through the Portable North Pole will be supporting our work for vulnerable children around the world."

The Portable North Pole is now available in Canada throughout the Christmas season and beyond

About offers Canada's top selection of relevant French and English Canadian online content. Launched in 1995, 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, 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, is the online publisher of choice for advertisers (

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

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF, please visit

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

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