TikTok, the new Santa Claus factory

As the holidays approach, anonymous people dress up as Santa Claus, communicate directly with Internet users and sell personalized videos. The result is millions of subscribers and a new source of income.

Do you remember 36 30, Santa’s number? Well today, you no longer need to pick up the phone. Children can now interact live with the famous character dressed in red on… TikTok. On the Chinese social network, anonymous people pretend to be Santa Claus and create accounts bearing his image. One of the best known is American. This is Léonard Kinter alias Santa Corky, who has 2 million subscribers on his profile, created last March. “People love seeing Santa get up to speed and have fun live», explains the latter at Figaro.

So no more entertainment in the shopping malls: every evening, Santa Corky simply launches a live broadcast from home to address families. “Hello everyone, it’s Santa Corky and I’m live!“, he declares, enthusiastically. Before personally greeting users by citing their pseudonym. In the background, an air of Let it snow! of Frank Sinatra resonates. Santa Corky lists the children he considers wise or not among the testimonies he receives in comments. From time to time, he makes humor or prepares gifts live, while chatting with his community.

On their accounts, these TikTok Santas create humor, work on their decor and regularly thank their communities. And many of them are getting started, if only by typing “Santa Clause” on the platform, around ten profiles of the genre appear. Screenshot TikTok Santa Corky/ TikTok Northern Santa

The decor is carefully designed with a real fireplace whose fire les and with garlands in abundance… It’s not difficult to be immersed in the atmosphere. “When I go live on TikTok and adults join my livestream, I do my best to give them a magical experience“, he continues. “These TikTok Santas are generating nostalgia among users», analyzes, in turn, Stéphanie Laporte, founder of the social media agency Otta. “ Via the algorithm, they appear by surprise on their discovery feeds and offer positive content while the news is much less so…Hence their success », she adds.

An inflation of false Santas

Santa Corky already has colleagues in the United States like “Santa Claus» followed by 4.5 million people. There are several in Portugal and France. Like the “Santa Claus of the North» and its 50,000 followers. This Santa is played by Eddy, who created his account a month ago. “ It was my daughter who showed me the contents of Santa Corky thinking of me, remembers the cook in a college, With my beard, I have always been told that I look like Santa Claus and, what’s more, I love this time of year. I wanted to get started too!“.

As soon as he gets home from work, the 54-year-old puts on his red suit and slips on his fur-lined boots before going live. “Originally, I hoped to have 200 or 300 subscribers maximum and then, quickly, there were thousands», he is still surprised. “In the comments, I have young users who tell me their stupidities and ask me the consequences for their end of year celebrations“, he continues. “This is an opportunity to remind them of some driving lessons in a friendly atmosphere, while embodying this mythical character.“.

An unusual and profitable business

And the unusual activity quickly transformed into a real business. “Some of these fake Santas have in mind to garner views during this period when the algorithm will boost their content. A bit like e-retailers», notes Stéphanie Laporte. Santa Corky for example lives of his activity on TikTok. Live, he receives numerous donations from his subscribers. In the form of virtual gifts or, directly, donations of a few dollars. “Income varies and is not necessarily constant. It can vary from 50 dollars to 200 dollars per day », Testifies Santa Corky.

The latter acknowledges being supported by the platform, which helps to make its content visible. “I work closely with my TikTok manager and was recently invited to their headquarters in Los Angeles“. He also specifies establishing partnerships with companies. Often to provide gifts to families in need. “ This year we’ve teamed up with cuddly toy brand Pudgy Penguins, committing to giving away 35,000 of them this Christmas“.

These influencer Santas then sell some of their services. On the left, Santa Corky has a site where he offers “a virtual tour” for $250 or a personalized video for $65. Santa Claus in the North also offers personalized videos for 9 euros. Santa Corky.com screenshot (left)/Santa of the North screenshot (right).

So, fake Santa quickly became its own brand. On his site SantaCorky.com, he sells personalized videos for young people for the modest sum of $65. It costs $250 for a 15-minute video call. To place an order, simply write to “the Elf Michael», the press officer of Santa Corky, whose email address is mentioned in the description of the TikTok account.

350 video orders per day

Personalized videos of these Santa Clauses are popular, in the United States as in France. “ I receive 300 to 350 requests for videos like this every day», underlines Eddy, who also made it a source of income. Santa Claus of the North sells 9.49 euros for a personalized seven-minute video. “ For each family, I take the time to prepare a story. My wife helps me with the texts and I shoot in the evening after the live shows or on weekends“, he specifies. “For each video, TikTok takes a commission by around 40% and, concretely, I receive 5.20 euros from this content“.

Far from wanting to make it his main activity, Eddy sees it more as a complement to other actions that he carries out voluntarily. “I do not forget the reality and I have always mobilized for my village during the holidays», recalls the fifty-year-old. “On December 19, for example, I will go to the community nursery dressed as Santa Claus, like every year, to create an activity.»

The cook is even considering taking a little break from TikTok, after this prosperous period of December. While waiting for their return with great fanfare in a year, the platform will perhaps see flock of Three Wise Men and Easter bunnies ready to form, in turn, a fascinated community.

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