Portable North Pole: Review and promo code
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
We're officially on single digit countdown to Christmas now, the tree is up and the living room looks like the exploded contents of a drag queens handbag. Wrapping is 85% done and present shopping is 99% done, just down to that nail biting game of 'will the last few presents be delivered in time' I dutifully made cheats fudge for the school fair and made white clay tree decorations, twice, with The Dude and Thing Two.
Then they reminded me with the inevitable question 'Where's our videos from Santa?' that I'd yet to do this years Portable North Pole videos! Whoops! With nosy spawn that appear allergic to going to bed and a boob junkie Moomin it's hard to get the time to discreetly do such things this year, unless I use my Android phone that is!
Every year I utilise the free PNP personalised video service to make videos for each of The Spawn, much to their delight. I like to keep their real names etc off the blog so I'll show you the PNP example video:
Each year I've watched The Spawn's faces light up with awe,
With the classic option you get 3 minutes of video featuring two photo's you've uploaded and personalised information such as being addressed by name, their age, what they do etc.
This is a great option if you only have one child, however, if like us you have a small army of spawn we have to let them watch their videos in secret individually so that they don't get suspicious with the same story line repeated!
For just £2.99 you can upgrade to a premium video:
With the premium option you get a choice of 3 different scenes, 5 photo uploads and five minutes of video.
Another amusing feature is the ability to create a free video for an adult in your life, The Spawn are always ridiculously amused at watching Santa tell The Husband to listen to his Wife more and warning him about his temper!
However, it gets even better as PNP also have personalised phone calls, something we'd not experienced before until PNP kindly asked us to review. Can you imagine being a child and getting a personal phone call from Santa? I sent the first call to Thing One, at 10 years old logic tells him Santa doesn't exist yet he's still just young enough to suspend suspicion because he essentially wants to believe. It's pretty hard to dispute his existence when you get a personal call from the man himself, via a North Pole Reception Elf of course. Like the videos these are quick and easy to set up and generally the call will be made 4-14 minutes after you request it. You get a 1 minute call and a choice of 3 storylines. These are priced at £2.99 for one call or £3.99 for three calls.
Thing Two was off school today poorly so Santa gave her a call, her smile was priceless! Awesome behaviour is so much more official when praise comes from the big man himself.
I'll put my hands up and say I am guilty of using the 'threat' of telling Santa if they're being repeatedly vile so it's especially handy that now they know he can call them back.
With the videos you get to choose something the child could improve on. We tell The Dude to be on nice to Thing One and it falls on deaf ears yet Santa requests it and poor Thing One is now being full body tackled with violently enthusiastic cuddles and kisses (in-between the head buts and shouting at him)
You also get to select whether the child is on the nice list or naughty list. I'll be the first to admit The Spawn can be absolute cretins yet even diabolical me can't quite bring myself to put them on the naughty list. I just can't bring myself to do it. However this year there is also a nifty compromise of the nearly nice list which offers positive encouragement and belief in a child's ability to improve without chastisement or disappointment.
Now down to the nitty gritty...
* Very user friendly interface making it quick and easy to do.
* Free app available for your phone.
* Offers both free and premium packages.
* The videos are funny and charming.
* The multiple opportunities to personalise it make it magical for children
* If you like to big up the creepy idea that Big ol' judgmental Mr C is 'watching' and see's everything, mentioning things like performances and birthdays with picture evidence is brilliant.
* Santa successfully manages to come across benign and endearing. Realistic without being creepy.
* On the premium videos, you can enter their siblings names so when their book is retrieved from the shelf you see their siblings books next to them! It's small attention to detail like this that really does nurture the magic
* Calls can be sent to landlines or mobiles, handy if you're out or to provide some magic in your absence. Santa can call them at grandparents or the child minders etc!
* If you have more than one child the free option may not be for you.
* Not all names will be spoken and will only appear written. I won't lie, Thing Two always looks a disappointed when she's referred to as 'My friend' or some other endearment as there is no included pronunciation of her name yet Thing One & The Dude are always addressed by name. This is both on the videos and the calls. She sees her name printed on 'her book' yet he never says it to her.
* You have to pay extra to be able to download and save your videos, even if you've paid for premium ones.
* Santa sounds a bit like Pooh Bear...
One more thing, If you have more then one child yet want a premium video or multiple calls it may feel like an expensive do. We all know the scenario, it's like downloading a free app and being able to do something cool yet every time you want to do something even cooler it asks you for money. More money and money again. Urgh.
There is however, in my opinion, a reasonable solution in the instance of PNP. For just £7.99 you get the 'Unlimited Holiday Pass' providing access to unlimited premium videos (including a Christmas Eve one from the sleigh!) and unlimited calls (including an update on Christmas Eve and from the sleigh)
This means all The Spawn get their own calls and videos that are personalised and different to each other. If you only have one child in your life it's an affordable way to fully experience everything PNP has to offer throughout the build up to Christmas with only one payment. Especially with the calls encourages spontaneity to inflict magic on your kids.
With four children a lot of festive activities are simply out of our budget, even a Christmas Eve hamper for four is expensive when you need four of everything, yet with this they all get a bit of magic and childhood memories. The window of belief is so small in years, I love to make the most of it whilst they're young enough to believe. We're not the most festive of parents but this entails minimum effort yet the result has a big impact.
The lovely people of PNP have given me a discount code to share with you, enter the promo code BLG20BKP to get 20% off all digital purchases (excluding in app purchases)
***Disclaimer: PNP have provided me with an Unlimited Holiday Pass for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.