Although the holidays have passed, this article should generate some ideas for any up-and-coming events or holidays. This out-of-the-box idea can help your company create brand recognition within your local community and generate leads for your security company.

This December a local security company asked us to help them put together a giveback idea for their local community. Whereas most of the security companies we work with are out of state, this one happened to be in our backyard.

His idea was to put together a winter wonderland during the busiest shopping time of the year just outside his office, where the local community could come out and enjoy a free family photo with Santa or take pictures of their children playing in snow — well, at least fake snow.

So after a day’s worth of researching, we found a theatrical snow machine company named Froggy’s Fog. Their website is They provided us with a compact snow machine that produces a snow-like product made of a soap-based solution. Employing the same technique many theme parks use — including Disneyland during the Disney Junior Live on Stage show — we had what looked like snowflakes coming from the rooftop of our client’s building.

We then put an ad on Craigslist for a Santa to come to our downtown area for three days and take pictures with the local neighborhood kids.

Everything went according to plan. From December 18 through 21 we made it snow from the rooftop of our client’s building (which is located on the main street of our downtown area), and Santa took pictures with all the children. You may be thinking, that’s all fine and dandy, but how did that actually generate leads?

Hold your horses; we’re getting to that.

Pictures with Santa can run anywhere from $20 to $40 depending on the package. Since this was done in a public setting, we discouraged parents from taking photos with their cellphones by hiring a local photo kiosk company that showed up a half hour early each night. This company brought their own green screen background.

Santa’s setup consisted of a nice chair, presents and some tinker toys. As the parents lined up, they were told that in order to receive a free photo of their children with Santa, they just had to provide their email address. In return they would receive the high-res photo instantly. Voilà — a captured local resident lead ready for the picking.

Of course we had all parents in line sign a waiver and be notified that they would be receiving the company’s emails in exchange for a free high-res picture of their child with Santa.

We promoted the event strictly through Facebook ads and boosting, spending a total of $300. The posts received more than 1,800 likes, more than 150 shares and more than 300 comments. The three days of free photos with Santa were well received, resulting in an average of 180 individual photos taken (with accompanying email addresses) per day.

So far the event has generated our client 10 sales, more than 400 email leads and local brand exposure. Plus, it has allowed his staff to interact with the local community.

The client now has plans to do similar events for Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July and Halloween.

The entire event, including Santa, a photo kiosk and three snow machines (a one-time capital investment) ran approximately $1,500.00.

So there you have it. A little creativity, some local marketing using social media and a photo booth kiosk generated our client 10 sales thus far. We’re even playing around with the idea of offering our local community free Wi-Fi, as long as they give us their email addresses — I wonder what we could do with thousands of email addresses from our local community….

Until next time, believe in being different; believe in the big ol’ fat purple cow!