UPDATE: Below are links to all the cards we posted this week.
Agency Holiday Cards 2017: The Most Creative Farewells to the Year
Agency Holiday Cards 2017: The Most Creative Farewells to the Year (Pt. 2)
Agency Holiday Cards 2017: The Most Creative Farewells to the Year (Pt. 3)
Agency Holiday Cards 2017: The Most Creative Farewells to the Year (Pt. 4)
Ad agencies are great at crafting holiday messages for advertisers. But at this time of year, after the client work is done, they move on to the more important stuff—their own agency holiday cards.
And the pressure is on. Freed of client constraints, who can make the year’s coolest, most creative expression of seasonal cheer? Below are some of this year’s contenders.
We’ll be adding more cards throughout this week. Email yours to holidaycards [at] adweek [dot] com. On Friday, we’ll pick our five favorites of the year.
22squared – “Tappy Holidays”
22squared turned Instagram Stories into a tap-through sing-along, with employees singing bits of popular Christmas carols—and the user having to tap at just the right time to hear the songs as they were intended.
This agency is sending out cookies in the shape of the agency team. Line drawings of 215 McCann employees were turned into 3D printed cookie cutters, and then used to bake face-shaped cookies. Recipients also receive a link to a video, shot in stop motion, that playfully illustrates an almost magical baking process, one that transforms a lump of flour into the face of agency CCO Scott Duchon. Each recipient receives a tin that holds 32 cookies (four stacks of eight) that feature the faces of those 215 McCann staffers they’re most familiar with. It all sums up the agency mantra: “Truth Well Told. Cookies Well Baked.”
Aloysius Butler & Clark – “Home Fur the Holidays”
AB&C came up with a canine- and feline-lifesaving alternative to the traditional holiday greeting card, teaming with PAWS to feature 12 pets online and launching a marketing campaign to find each of them a happy “Home Fur the Holidays!” AB&C is also covering the adoption fee for eligible “parents.”
Arnold Worldwide – “Holiday Pitch”
Arnold asked kids what they wanted for Christmas, then put together ad campaigns to persuade their parents. The cute video below captures the whole process. Arnold is also participating in the Youth Villages Holiday Heroes program, to help kids who aren’t as fortunate as these.
“There is no greater joy then watching kids open presents. So this year Arnold decided to use our ‘pitch powers’ for good,” says Sasha Hartman, president and chief client officer of Arnold. “We have a tradition of working with local charities, like Youth Villages and created this piece to remind everyone that not every kid is as lucky as those in our video. Our donation to Youth Villages helps those less fortunate enjoy some holiday cheer of their own.”
Anomaly – “Dear Satan”
This agency goes all in at Christmas. Last year they made an amazing eight-minute film, narrated by Fleabag actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who imagined the nightmarish scenario of a man who took “The 12 Days of Christmas” literally—and actually bought all that crap for his girlfriend. This year’s follow-up is just a good: “Dear Satan,” narrated by Patrick Stewart, tells the tale of a girl who accidentally sends a letter to Satan instead of Santa.
Brunner – “The Ultimate Holiday Commercial”
Two creatives, tasked with creating a “sincere holiday greeting,” envision a grab bag of a spot filled with affluence, Jingle Bells, abundant gifts (and purchases), kittens, puppies, polar bears, romance, retro, ethnic diversity, dancing Santa, VR Santa, dancing cookies, dreamy kids (dreaming of clients’ products and services) and lumber.
charlieuniformtango – “The Gang Makes a Christmas Video”
What happens when you start drinking Coors Light while making your holiday cards? If you’re the six dudes who run production company charlieuniformtango, things get out of control fast. Luckily, you’ve got great visual effect to capture all the debauchery.
DiMassimo Goldstein – “#SitOutSantaCon”
SantaCon is a gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. Which is fine, until the children see a bunch of drunken Santas misbehaving. DiMassimo Goldstein’s anti-SantaCon campaign features downloadable posters, collectible buttons, a website, a series of GIFs and a moving PSA that shows the real victims of SantaCon—the children.
Elemental and Original – “Manger Things”
Mash up Stranger Things and the nativity scene, and you get Manger Things.
Grey London – “Hyrrs”
Grey London made an album of feminist Christmas carols, rewritten to stick it to the man. The best of the “hyrrs” (as opposed to hymns) was “Deck the Halls” reimagined as “Kick the Balls.”
Interbrand – “Sustainable Development Goals”
All 21 Interbrand offices were encouraged to create posters that speak to the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. Each office chose a goal that best relates to its region. This year, beyond the posters, the offices also developed a call to action—a chance for everyone to give back to the goal they’re supporting. Below are examples of the creative from a number of Interbrand offices. See the full global campaign here.
• Interbrand Cincinnati
UN Sustainable Development Goal #2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
• Interbrand CEE
UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. The team aligned with Reporter ohne Grenzen, the German arm of Reporters sans Frontiers.
• Interbrand Global
UN Sustainable Development Goal #13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
UN Sustainable Development Goal #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, to challenge gender perceptions.
• Interbrand Madrid
UN Sustainable Development Goal #15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Iris Amsterdam – “Santa’s Photoshop”
Iris Amsterdam has turned its office window, located opposite the famous Rijksmuseum, into an interactive social Photoshop experience for the holidays. Passersby are invited to tweet or email their ideas for seasonal images to Iris Amsterdam’s very own Father Christmas, who selects the best suggestions and turns them into a festive images with the magic of Photoshop.
Klick – “You Make Winter Warm”
The independent agency got YouTube music and video producer Andrew Huang to write an original song, “You Make Winter Warm.” The YouTube video has 1.4 million views and counting.
Laughlin Constable – “The Birth of a Griffin”
Instead of the traditional holiday card, Laughlin Constable created a social campaign that chronicles the hatching of a mysterious griffin egg discovered on the roof of the agency. The griffin has long been the spirit animal for Laughlin Constable, as griffin gargoyles guard the historic Mitchell Building that houses their headquarters.
The egg’s story is being told episodically. See the first episode below, and the rest over at this website.
Magnum Opus Partners – “Don’t have a stock-standard Christmas this year”
This Melbourne, Australia, agency’s holiday video is made entirely of stock footage—very bad stock footage—as a voiceover ridicules the scene and encourages you to have a “cracker” of a holiday instead.
Mr. President – “Merry SickMask”
This London agency is making non-prescription, fashion-forward medical face masks for the holiday that protect and prevent cold-causing germs from spreading. The Merry SickMask campaign features fashionable custom SickMasks with limited-edition designs, modeled by Father Christmas himself. Available in four illness-related patterns, the masks are delivered in pill box packaging with unofficial prescription instructions.
Moxie – “Augmented Reality Holiday Card feat. T-Pain”
Moxie created tubes of Gift Rap—an AR-enabled wrapping paper featuring an animated version of award-winning hip-hop artist, T-Pain.
MullenLowe – “Octopus Cards”
MullenLowe’s holiday card is based on its octopus logo. Agency client American Greetings designed eight hand-carved linoleum stamps of octopus etchings and printed blank cards with the message, “Hope your holiday is one of a kind.” Next, the agency held a “Print Run Party” in each of its four U.S. offices, getting every employee to hand-stamp the cards and sign them. There are 1,500 cards altogether—each of them perfectly unique.
Pitch – “Pop Culture Cookies”
Each year, Pitch wraps up the year in pop culture by sending out “Pop Culture Cookies.” This year’s designs included everything from Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad to Lyft’s gains on Uber.
Publicis Groupe – “2018 Wishes”
The holding company Publicis Groupe always sends out a year-end video message to its employees worldwide. This year, for the first time, it was new global CEO Arthur Sadoun giving the address—but with a cameo by Maurice Lévy. And wow, Arthur looks like he’s aged several decades since we saw him in Cannes, while Maurice seems to have gotten younger. Well, it has been a long year indeed for Publicis, hasn’t it?
Rethink – “Buttons”
Rethink’s holiday card this year is a Facebook Messenger chatbot named Buttons, an elf who comes to life to deliver festive fun.
Trunk, “Merry Critmas”
The Merry Critmas campaign is back in the U.K., in which senior creatives are encouraged to give a “book crit” (aka, a portfolio critique) for free as a gift to younger creatives. Below is the horrifying promo they made.
The VIA Agency – “Campaign for Christmas”
VIA gathered a number of Christmas experts to determine whether Santa Claus is really magical. The agency also bottled Maine air and sent it to friends.
Viral Seeding – “The Twelve Chugs of Christmas”
This content, social and influencer marketing agency built its Christmas campaign around the office chug (part chihuahua, part pug) named Juno. The agency says it’s “confident the final edit beats John Lewis on the ‘Ahhh’ factor this year.” See more at chugmas.com.
Vitro – “Creative Directorclaus”
No creative directors in the office over the holidays? No problem. Creative Directorclaus delivers timeless feedback at the touch of a button.
Wunderman New York – “Boroughbreds”
Wunderman New York created a campaign for Animal Care Centers of New York that rebranded the dogs, cats and bunnies waiting to be adopted as “Boroughbreds.” And it gave them control of the Wunderman NY Twitter account—by custom-building a dog-friendly “keyboard” synced with Twitter. Anyone heads to the ACC to adopt before the new year and mentions the hashtag #SeasonsTweetings will have their adoption costs covered by Wunderman.
XenoPsi – “Mission Mistletoe”
This strategic marketing and advertising firm launched a sprig of mistletoe into space, taking, it says, “one small step for an agency but hopefully one giant leap for peace and goodwill here on Earth.” See a two-hour video of it here.
Zulu Alpha Kilo – “Turkey Rub”
This Toronto agency went with a turkey-themed video (which would be more of a Thanksgiving thing in the U.S., but is perfectly acceptable in Canada). First, they created a product called Bake & Wake—a caffeinated turkey rub (made with First Spice Mixing Company) to keep you awake and alert after a sleep-inducing turkey binge. Then, it made a 15-minute video showing an Australian masseuse delicately tenderizing a real turkey—and seasoning it with the Bake & Wake turkey rub. The agency also donated 150 turkeys to Second Harvest, a food rescue organization that provides 30,000 meals a day in Toronto.
Can’t get enough? See 13 more agency holiday cards from 2017 here.