Covid-19 has seen 2020 become the year of cancelled plans and postponed events. Businesses have had to find different ways to connect internally, as well as with their customers and stakeholders, which has seen platforms such as MS Teams and Zoom become a normal part of our daily routines. While many hope that 2021 will have an opportunity to bring previously organised events back to life, others have chosen to adapt and helped bring the virtual event to the forefront.


For years, Woolworths has been well-known for their exceptional Christmas launch event – bringing together media and influencers from around the country into elaborate settings, with memorable experiences and intriguing product showcases. And like other celebrations, Woolworths Christmas relied on physical activations and human interaction to bring their vision to life – but 2020 had other plans.


“When it comes to Christmas, Woolworths sets the bar high, and it’s always our hope to level up on the year before, by bringing something truly innovative to life,” says Raphaella Frame-Tolmie, PR Manager for Foods, Special Occasions and Homeware at Woolworths. “2020 certainly threw us a curveball, but it gave us the opportunity to test out something completely new– an interactive virtual event – which took this year’s celebration to an all-new high.”


So, how do you bring the wonders of Christmas to a computer or mobile screen?


Woolworths managed to spread Christmas cheer and excitement to a handful of invited guests via a two prong approach: a physical home product delivery (packaged in an impressive, re-usable festive caravan) and an interactive virtual event experience that included a microsite featuring pre-recorded influencer-led content, gamification and virtual reality experiences. There was also a live Zoom gathering that showcased a cook-along segment, a homeware how-to and a Q&A session, chaired by well-known social media personality Mpoomy Ledwaba, which allowed guests to interact with the various content creators.


Not only were guests given the opportunity to experience all of this from the comfort of their own homes, they were also afforded the gift of choice. Attendees could view and attend whichever pieces of the experience they wanted to, and this was enhanced by a gamification element that allowed them to gain ‘happiness points’ and unlock achievements as they browsed and participated in actions such as loading a profile picture having taken a selfie with a festive filter designed especially for the event, triggered by QR code.


Attendance and interaction was exceptional across the board. For a half day event, the micro-site also did exceedingly well by notching up 1,422 page views and social media lit up during and shortly after the event began, with almost 500 pieces of content shared on Instagram and Twitter alone.


“We will definitely consider this format for our Christmas events going forward,” concluded Frame-Tolmie, “and not just on the back of this success, but because of the endless of opportunities available for us to explore in the digital arena.”


To view highlights from Woolworths’ virtual Christmas event, click here.