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Portland Holidays Direct launches Crackermatic viral

LONDON - Portland Holidays Direct is launching a unique Christmas online viral campaign dubbed Crackermatic.

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The festive email is part of Portland Holidays Direct's Christmas 2003 e-communications, promoting late winter escapes and winter holidays for next year.

The Crackermatic viral allows their customers to make personalised e-crackers, which can then be emailed to their friends, family and work colleagues.

The Crackermatic viral shows Santa's elves managing their Cracker Making machine, which is capable of building Christmas e-crackers on-line.

Visitors to the site can participate in some interactive animation to help the elves build the e-crackers, and in the best tradition of Christmas, make a personal selection of gifts, which include, of course, party hats, the "tacky" gift and the "bad" joke.

Once the crackers have been sent, the recipient receives a personalised email telling them a cracker has been made for them. When the visitor follows the link to collect their cracker, they can watch while the elves pull it to find out the contents of their cracker.

Naomi Wilkinson, marketing manager, Portland Holidays Direct, said: "The cracker viral is a fun game that we included in our December email, which fits perfectly with the Christmas season. Maintaining the humour and fun design of the Crackermatic viral was important, as we did not want people to perceive this activity as advertising and log off. We've added some subtle corporate branding to the site and incorporated a couple of links to our homepage giving each e-cracker maker an opportunity to find out more about Portland's holidays."

Portland said it chose Crackermatic because it was created and tested in December 2001 and was one of the most successful viral agents of its kind at the time, generating 200,000 e-crackers from just 500 seed emails.

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