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Weiden & Kennedy of London have created an interesting way to combine user generated content with online Christmas cards. Nope, not an Elf Yourself ripoff... but with a visit to an actual storefront window (their "Magic Window", if you will) where your image is placed upon one of 12 Christmas characters, only to be immortalized online and then emailed to friends a plenty!!
Created with a Dickensian bent (a fun silent style film on their site explains the process), the Christmas Card Making Machine combines the OOH (out of home) experience with the communicative advantages of the internet.
People can walk by the window located at 16 Hanbury Street in London, see their faces superimposed upon one of 12 holiday icons (I'm a personal fan of being immortilized as a plum pudding), save it and then, once at a computer, retrieve it, personalize your message and with the hit of a button, send it off through cyberspace.
Once you get online, you visit the site , disclose the date at which you visited the window (a smart way to keep people from having to search through hundreds of faces) then scroll through the characters and faces of folks (yourself included... if you live in the area and visited the "Magic Window") who've captured their image:
Above: forgive me.. I have no idea who this guy is, but you can see how one finds, online, who visited the Magic Window and when
Choose your favorite-- and you can choose more than one character as in the above image--, personalize the text and email it off as a holiday card (yes, I chose the plum pudding):
Why care if you don't live in London?
Well, because the promotion of the idea is equally as fun. W&K's Dickensian film explaining the process is worth a look and the well designed site has all 12 characters making fun noises when you rollover each of them. Okay, so maybe my giggling at 'gobble gobble' is juvenile, but you try it!
Above: people outside the Christmas Card Making Machine at 16 Hanbury St., London
One final note: I do wish that I could capture my own face with my computer and upload it to the site, place it in one of the beautifully illustrated characters and download it, share it or print it, but then it'd be another sort of Elf Yourself. Living further away than across the pond, I think they should have implemented that in addition to having to visit the actual window, to let us 'foreigners' experience the fun.
Maybe next year.
Until then... check it out, learn about it, appreciate it and have fun here!