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Why Hallmark Is Ditching TV, and Sentimental Ads, for a Bit of Biting Humor This Holiday

Snapchat partnership also helps anchor #KeepsakeIt

The new, irreverent campaign might remind you of Modern Family. Hallmark

Hallmark might be trying to break your heart before the holidays because watching Grandpa being forced to forego ham in favor of a tofu brick is enough to make even a vegan say bah humbug.

The scene is one of six new digital-only spots promoting Hallmark's latest line of Keepsake ornaments. The brand, known for its "Hallmark moments," is taking a more humorous approach to the 2015 season.

The 30-second spots, created by Chandelier, have a tone much like TV's Modern Family and show the imperfect moments many relatives can relate to.

"They do have a little bit of a bite to them, and I think people will be excited to see this sort of humor come from Hallmark," said Chandelier creative director Michael Scanlon.

It's the first time Hallmark has taken an all-digital approach for Keepsake during this high-stakes time of year for sales. But the brand is betting big with its shift away from traditional TV time, investing in not only the clever commercials but also a full-blown digital microsite highlighting the artists behind many of the 400 ornament designs available this year.

"Our ornaments are a 3-D scrapbook of memories that tell the story of consumers' lives," said Ann Herrick, marketing director for omnichannel marketing at Hallmark.

A key component for the brand this year is a new partnership with Snapchat. Hallmark is sponsoring a geofilter for anyone taking photos and videos with the app at the main public Christmas tree displays in the top 20 markets across the U.S. Anyone within a distance of two football fields will be able to use a custom filter.

"When they make their pilgrimage downtown and take the obligatory photography in front of the Christmas tree, we can be a part of that," Herrick said.

Here are two of the other spots:

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