By Tina Chadwick

Gigahertz, 4G, Lightning fast, Megabytes. More powerful, Thinner, Faster. Better. How does a communications giant break through the din with a technology message consumers will hear? Give that technology away. For free. Not a gift with purchase – just a gift. Even if you’re not on their network. That’s exactly what Verizon is doing this holiday – demonstrating their technological prowess instead of simply claiming it.

“The Lost Elf” is Verizon’s interactive storybook available to anyone as a free app or for use online. Users can personalize the lead character not just with a name, but boy or girl, eye color, skin color, and hair color, as well as a location name that appears on a train station sign and at the post office. As users read the story, the name and character they created appear seamlessly throughout and there are 3-5 interactive hot spots to find on the pages, too. At the story’s end, users can print out a personalized “Santa’s Helper” certificate, share the story to major social sites, and, create a totally new version with different name and character.

“Verizon wanted to do something that invites users in—shows them that anyone can not just use technology, but really enjoy it.” explains Jenny Storino, the project’s Creative Lead at the Atlanta agency that developed the story, Moxie Interactive.

Anyone can download the free app or start your story online at this link.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.