Image Marketing | centennial

2019 National
Holiday Experience


In their ongoing effort to re-imagine the guest experience, Centennial launched a new holiday engagement strategy, replacing traditional Santa sets with branded family entertainment experiences inspired by some of the most beloved characters and stories ever.

The four properties each had a unique experience based on Elf, Polar Express, A Christmas Story and Elf on the Shelf. Each set tied into iconic moments in the stories, with the experiences designed to be fun for all ages with photo sharing moments and interactive elements. In future years, the sets will rotate through the various properties to keep the experiences fresh and to leverage the investment.


These magical and immersive experiences were designed to modernize the traditional visit with Santa Claus and entertain guests as they waited in line. With theatrical-quality set designs and rich storytelling brought to life using augmented reality, the overall goals were to drive increased Santa visits from people of all ages, make the wait to see Santa as fun as the visit, and deploy cutting edge technology to elevate the traditional Santa experience. 

With multi-generational appeal, each experience was expected to delight existing guests, bring in new guests, increase sales, and add to the fun and enjoyment of the holiday season. Beyond these initial benefits, this program will continue to pay dividends as the experiences are rotated to different properties each year.


Centennial partnered with experiential agencies Parker 3D, Agency808 and Warner Brothers to develop first-to-market holiday sets (3 of the 4 are first in the world) themed around timeless, beloved books and movies.


Vancouver Mall

The Polar Express

  • Pose in front of a giant replica of The Polar Express complete with steam and sound effects.

  • Have fun exploring a selection of digital miniature North Pole factory windows while the Polar Express crosses the train trestle above.

  • After arriving at the North Pole, guests visit and take photos with Santa or a variety of green screen backgrounds. 

Connecticut Post Mall


  • Pose in front of a giant replica “Buddy” the elf, and superimpose your face on a miniature version

  • Strike a pose while crossing the street on your way to Gimbels in front of a life size NY city taxi

  • There are green screen paid photo ops that place guests in the Candy Cane Forest or chatting with Mr. Narwhal while standing atop an iceberg

  • Finish your experience with a visit with the big guy himself in a complete recreation of the Gimbels Santa backdrop

Mainplace Mall

A Christmas Story

  • Take your picture in front of an exact replica of Ralphie Parker’s family home complete with oversized “A Christmas Story” branding

  • Take a family photo in front of the iconic leg lamp

  • Through the use of the custom “A Christmas Story App” use your own device to watch virtual bumpus hounds knock over the table and steal the Christmas turkey!

  • Find the AR bunny target and stick your face in the “pink nightmare bunny suit” and snap a shot on your own devic


Hawthorn Mall

Elf on the Shelf

  • This experience transforms the traditional mall Santa visit by providing themed Instagrammable moments and a guided holiday adventure themed with Elf on the Shelf

  • A printed “Activity Guide” explains each of the nine photo-worthy stations and provides fun activities to learn more about the North Pole and the Scout Elves

  • Perhaps the most exciting photo opp is a larger-than-life bookshelf that gives guests the chance to capture a moment sitting next to Scout Elves on the shelf


Press | Extensive coverage in the four markets generated $22.5M in media value and 135M media impressions. 

Social Media | Engagement Rate of 21.7% on Instagram, 23.6% on Facebook compared to property average of 11% and 3.8% respectively 

Total Engagements | 17,219

Impressions | 316,661

Website clicks | 17,796


  • Reservations for Santa visits were up 2.5x from 2018

  • Photo sales were up an average of 70% over last year for opening week.

  • Customer count increased by 40% over last year

  • Santa photo sales for the season were 10% higher than Cherry Hill national average

  • Centers with the new experiences ranked 2nd in sales among all Cherry Hill developers, 1.5% behind top performing portfolio