Agency Holiday Cards 2018: Inventive and Creative Send-Offs to the Year, Part 2

Agencies employed humorous, festive and philanthropic approaches to holiday cards

DDB created "It's The Thought That Counts" wrapping paper, with proceeds going to Girls Education International.

The submissions keep coming in, so we’re going to keep highlighting the most interesting holiday cards of 2018.

Please find links to the rest of the roundups below:

Agency Holiday Cards 2018: Inventive and Creative Send-Offs to the Year

Agency Holiday Cards 2018: Inventive and Creative Send-Offs to the Year, Part 3

&Barr — “40 for More” 

Orlando agency &Barr made the most inexpensive card possible to send to clients, for a good reason. The small Orlando agency decided that instead of a fancy stunt, they would give the money left over in the $4,000 budget it could have used for the cards to its 40 employees to give to the charity of their choosing. Each employee’s “more” was posted on Instagram and then added to 40forMore.com.

Some employees donated their time as well as money at local pet shelters and senior centers, while one group passed out envelopes of cash around a lake in downtown Orlando.

“We didn’t have the cash to create something with breakthrough tech or the budget to give away something super sexy,” &Barr vice president, creative director Rob Bloom said. “What we could do was make an impact by investing in an idea that showcased the heart of our agency and our people.”

Aftermarq — “Die Hard is a Christmas Movie”

The Columbus, Ohio, agency weighs in on the Die Hard debate, which Fox Home Entertainment seems to have settled, with a series of ugly sweater-themed holiday cards. In declaring their stance, the agency invited naysayers to @ them on Twitter, as it seems one they’re not afraid to defend.

Creating the hand-signed cards seems to have been something of a bonding experience for the team, which dissected the movie together and now has emoticons for both John McClane and Hans Gruber on its Slack channel. 

Aloysius Butler & Clark (AB&C) — “Home Fur The Holidays”

After an inaugural run last year, AB&C is back with its second annual “Home Fur The Holidays” alternative to the traditional holiday card. The pet-loving agency is partnering with PAWS to promote animal adoption over the holidays. Visitors to the website are introduced to a series of pets in need of homes and can learn about their personalities to decided which one is right for them.

“Anyone who has visited our offices knows we love our pets. When we learned from PAWS just how many animals don’t make it out of the shelter due to lack of adoptions, we knew we had to pay it forward,” AB&C CCO Steve Merino said. “If we can use our talents and resources to save a whole bunch of animals, now is the perfect time of year to do it.”

Anomaly — “O Human Being” 

If you thought last year’s holiday card from Anomaly London, “Dear Satan,” was twisted, wait until you see this year’s (NSFW) entry. The animated short “O Human Being” imagines what it would be like if trees reversed the script, cut humans’ legs off and decorated them for the holidays. Somehow, it’s even darker and more disturbing than you’d imagine from that description. Anomaly has once again made easily the most bizarre and off-the-wall agency holiday card video of the year. If the trend of outdoing themselves every year continues, we shudder to think of what their perverse minds will come up with for 2019.

ATK Plan — “Skating Season”

Dallas-based strategic creative group ATK PLN is rolling into the new year in style, with a custom skateboard combining its love of design, animation and pop culture. Designed to capture the personality of the company, the colorful creation captures a cast of characters across its Dallas, Los Angeles and Montreal offices.

ATK Plan executive creative director Jose Sebastian Gomez teamed up with artist Ken Gunn Lee to create a cityscape which Gomez described as “Sesame Street on steroids.”

Barker — “How to Get the Most ROI Out of Your Holiday” 

New York-based digital agency Barker takes a light-hearted approach to its holiday card, instructing friends and clients as to how to get the best ROI out of the holiday season. It all starts with setting clear goals, like binge-watching Netflix, and making sure the entire team is on-board. From there, it’s important to stay on-brand while not losing sight of the bigger picture.

“The most fun was the conversations we had along the way—specifically what our own holiday KPIs are. Some people’s were sentimental, some sparked heated debates and others were straight up NSFW,” Barker copywriter Kelsey Miller said. “It was a hilarious, eye-opening time for the entire team that worked on it.”

BBDO Atlanta — “11 Unique Gifts You Never Thought You’d See On The Same List!”

Rather than sending clients a traditional holiday card, BBDO Atlanta decided to give them some digital content, including them on a list of “unique gifts” for some festive engagement. The agency then sent an email to its clients with a clickable image of the BuzzFeed Community listicle.

“We wanted to give our client partners the one thing they really want—even better business results at the end of the year,” BBDO Atlanta CCO Robin Fitzgerald said. “We didn’t want to give them a printed card they’d just throw away a week later.”

Brighton Agency — “Naughty & Nice”

St. Louis’ Brighton Agency decided to showcase its roughly 90 employees with portraits representing their “naughty” and “nice” sides with different wardrobes.

“Everyone discovered a creative license that they may not have felt they had before, and it allowed everyone to go as big or subtle as they felt comfortable with,” Brighton Agency creative director JD Guenther said. “Everyone truly enjoyed the simplified process and based on the conversations and seeing the amount of time people have spent looking and laughing at it I would venture to say they are truly proud of the results of their effort.”

Carmichael Lynch  — “Tank Sauce”

Minneapolis agency Carmichael Lynch’s holiday offering answers to a higher calling: barbecue.

Under the shadow of a 102-year-old water tank on the agency’s rooftop, a group known as the CL Smoking Crew has churned out thousands of pounds of smoked meats, cheeses, chickpeas and other creations from a pair of competition-grade smokers since 2014, fueling everything from agency meetings to bands hosted on the roof.

So the agency decided to celebrate the holidays with a nod to this tasty element of its agency culture by working with a local food production company to bottle “Tank Sauce,” the tangy barbecue sauce formulated on that same rooftop.

Coffee Digital  — “Biometric Reading”

Coffee Digital gets a lot of requests for biometric integration into its digital and experiential projects. So for its holiday card, the agency decided to do a biometric reading of a favorite holiday character. The results are not surprising.

Colle McVoy — “Cubespirations” 

What if a holiday card could provide inspiration throughout the year?

That’s what Minneapolis agency Colle McVoy aims for with their gift to employees, clients, partners and friends. The agency teamed up with 10 Thousand Design to create 11 “Cubespirations” mini posters, with a series of advice aiming for humor, inspiration or both. 

“We hope they provide daily inspiration throughout 2019, or just a laugh whenever needed,” explained Colle McVoy director of communications Jen Stack.

DDB — “It’s The Thought That Counts” 

Everyone has heard the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” around the holidays, often as consolation surrounding a less-than-ideal gift.

DDB put a new spin on the expression, partnering with Girls Education International, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting educational opportunities for underserved girls and women in remote and developed regions around the word, to create “It’s The Thought That Counts” wrapping paper.

Each roll of the wrapping paper costs $50, with all proceeds going to Girls Education International. In addition to the 180 rolls the agency is sending out as gifts, it is also selling the wrapping paper online at ThoughtThatCounts.com.

“Every statistic shows that when women are educated, economies thrive,” DDB New York co-CCOs Lisa Topol and Derek Barnes explained. “So giving the gift of thought to young girls and women in places where education is so often denied to them just seemed like a gift we knew all of our clients would appreciate far more than any standard agency gift.”

Iceberg Interactive — “Meditative Card”

It’s no secret that the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. So Czech agency Iceberg Interactive is trying to help friends and clients relax with a meditative web experience. So take in the winter scene and breathe deep.

Iris — “Z! Cards”

It wasn’t that long ago that the holiday card meant just that: a real, physical card. No videos, AR experiences or clever websites.

Iris’ Amsterdam office gets back to the roots with its holiday cards this year, offering real holiday cards for sale featuring lighthearted and playful holiday scenes. The cards were created in collaboration with Amsterdam street paper Z!, which formed in 1995 to offer homeless people in the city a means to gain employment. 

“It’s that time of year when ad agencies try to outdo each other with wacky stunts, expensive digital builds and quirky products,” Iris Amsterdam executive creative director Colin Lamberton said. “We’ve been just as guilty as anyone, but this year we wanted to come up with an idea that’s a little more useful—while still spreading cheer in an unexpected way.”

Periscope — “Peace Paper”

This year, Minneapolis agency Periscope’s nonprofit Peace Paper crossed agency lines and international borders for its holiday effort. The agency called on creatives from around the world to collaborate on the charitable wrapping paper project.

Proceeds from Peace Paper go to peace education in public schools, with one out of every three rolls of paper sold donated as part of a Peace Paper school kit.

“As an integrated agency made up of talented people, we consider creativity our superpower,” vice president, director of marketing and public relations Kelsey Soby said. “This project allows us to really use that superpower for good—funding peace education in schools and inviting people from Minneapolis to Kyoto to join us in our mission to make the world a kinder, more peaceful place.”

Zulu Alpha Kilo — “Dancey Clause”

Ever wondered what kind of dance moves Kris Kringle has?

Well, Zulu Alpha Kilo has you covered. The agency worked with Santa himself for a lighthearted video documenting his festive dance moves. Milk and cookies were provided by Mrs. Claus.

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