Kids battling cancer can’t always leave the hospital to enjoy the holiday season, so RPA and Honda brought some festive magic into their lives through the power of augmented reality.

Working with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California, the client and agency delivered personalized get-well cards that contained a fanciful AR experience and heartfelt messages of hope.

Each child uses an iPad to interact with physical cards inscribed with his or her name. Suddenly, the whole room seems to shimmer with icicles and snow. Doves flutter and candles sparkle as a jolly snowman invites the children to join in his games.

Finally, floating text and video greetings surround the youngsters, encouraging them to stay strong and never give up the fight. Those words were contributed by hospital staff, along with hundreds of well wishers who responded to a Honda invite via Facebook and Instagram.

For every Facebook “Like” or “Love” the campaign video receives, Honda will donate $1 up to a total of $100,000 to both the CHOC and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

“Creating a personalized card was not easy,” Susie Rossick, Honda assistant vice president of marketing, tells AdFreak. “We had to be sure the experience was flexible enough to accommodate whomever (among the young patients) was able to do it that day.”

Members of the creative team worked hard to keep their emotions in check while presenting the cards.

“It’s a heavy day,” Rossick says of the filming. “Seeing these kids dealing with such a horrible illness doesn’t feel fair, and seeing them in their weakened state breaks our hearts. You’re full of joy seeing how happy they get, but it’s bittersweet.”

Despite such challenges, the effort was more than worth it, she says. “We did this to bring a smile to each child’s face.”

Judging from the youngsters’ squeals of delight and wide-eyed expressions of wonder, the team achieved a priceless return on its investment.

You can experience your own version of the AR holiday card by visiting this browser-friendly version.

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