The challenge was to create a 4th-quarter Hallmark retail opportunity that was larger and more integrated than the company's past strategy of largely one-off SKUs. The result was NorthPole, a storyworld-driven product, entertainment and marketing program.
Northpole product was featured prominently in Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Hallmark Gold Crown stores and more. Hallmark Channel will be airing their second NorthPole movie in 2015. And spectacular marketing included a Times Square event that allowed children to speak live with our characters from NorthPole.
Hallmark had never worked across departments and even customers in such an integrated way, nor set their sights so high on what could be achieved through the power of a big idea. And there was no creative mind more involved in developing this intellectual property than mine.
I gathered a cross-departmental team for input on fantastical questions about Santa's modern home city. Then I worked with a smaller team to develop an 80-page story-bible rich with "facts" about NorthPole and its residents that fueled product, entertainment and marketing. By the time the franchise launched, our core team was fluent in details including elf names, favorite NorthPole restaurants and the local lingo. Exploring NorthPole was a magical time that I'll never forget.