Stella Artois uses Google Street View and Maps technology to send a virtual caroler.
Belgian brewer Stella Artois, which was first brewed as a holiday gift for the people of Leuven, Belgium, is celebrating its heritage with a Facebook app featuring a chanteuse who will virtually travel to any location in the world to deliver a video holiday greeting.
The app is known as Holiday Carole after its central character, Carole, who is played by English actress Alice Eve.
In order to send a greeting with Carole, a user must enter a name, message and address.
In the resulting video, Carole travels to the recipient's virtual front door. Using the details provided by the sender as well as Google's Street View and Maps technology, the message pulls in unique details like: the recipient's name in an address book; the recipient's address on a napkin; images from the recipient's neighborhood; a map of the recipient's neighborhood; and a personalized newspaper name based on the recipient's location.
The app also pulls-in Stella Artois imagery when Carole gives the recipient a virtual limited-edition holiday bottle and a personalized chalice.
Laura Vallis, director of global external communications for Anheuser-Busch InBev, says a physical version of the limited-edition bottle is available to consumers in the U.S. for purchase during the holiday season. Stella Artois is an Anheuser-Busch InBev brand.
Accessible via Stella's global Facebook page, as well as eight local fan pages and its website, the app launched a week ago and will be available through the end of December. Pablo Firpo, global marketing director of Stella Artois, says he will not have an estimate for the number of initial users until the week of December 3.
Additional Stella fan pages with Holiday Carole include: the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the Czech Republic.
According to Stella, its Australia and Thailand pages will also include the app. As of Friday, however, the app was not yet available on those pages.
The greeting is not without small glitches. Some addresses are not recognized upon first entry and, if a house does not exist according to Google Street View, Carole travels back in time to a pre-house era to deliver the message.
"It's based on Google Street View technology, so the only limitations in terms of address would be those of where Google Street View cars have been," Vallis says.
In addition, snow appears no matter where the card is sent, including locations that rarely get white Christmases, like Hawaii.
In order to promote the initiative, Stella says it will strongly push the app within Facebook via promoted stories and social ads and through its global and US pages.
In addition, Stella will also run banners ads starting December 3. Stella, however, would not disclose where those ads will run.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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