Bipartisan Greetings and Fake News Frenzies: the First Round of 2016 Agency Holiday Cards

By admin 

As you all know, it’s that time of year when agencies around the world get together to celebrate a birth that happened many years ago … the dawn of the ad industry via Carlton & Smith/J. Walter Thompson in 1864, of course! What the hell did you think we meant?

We aren’t planning to do a full lineup of all the (generous) cards we’ve received so far because our colleagues at Adweek are already planning the most comprehensive possible review that will also include production companies and PR firms and your brother’s digital shop. We’ll do more of a “these are the ones we are choosing to include for some arbitrary reason that will inevitably piss people off” thing.

First, let’s get the obvious unpleasantness out of the way: politics.


The good people at New York’s DiMassimo Goldstein asked themselves how they might best help their fellow Americans get past what was, by any measure, an overlong and almost completely unproductive election season.

So the idea, as this video makes clear, is that maybe people CAN get over political divides exacerbated by social media and the need to constantly one-up each other. We are frankly quite skeptical, though the campaign site does include quite a few varieties of the cards depicted above for both sale and free download.

All proceeds from the sale will go to Morgridge Academy, or “a school for children with chronic illness that’s located on the grounds of National Jewish Health.” Uh oh, trigger words.

fake news

Here’s the card we chose, which leads right into the next project…

We like DigitasLBi’s “Happy Non-Fake News Year 2017” because the layout looks a whole lot like prime offender Taboola. Also, can you honestly tell which of these headlines is real?

fake news 1

The options didn’t get much easier, and we say this as people who read far too much news on any given day.

One tiiiiiiiny criticism, if we may: the current “fake news” thing is really about partisan politics in that the teen Balkan bloggers itching to earn some SWEET ad dollars suckered American readers into their clickbait scheme by promising to reveal some sort of unforgivable sin committed by one presidential candidate or the other. It’s depressingly similar to the way political news sites operate in that they know what their audiences want and work to satisfy those needs whether there’s anything to the underlying claims or not.

But then Digitas makes a good point: you won’t believe how real “Seattle Restaurant Implements Vaping and Non-Vaping Sections” sounds.

As part of this project, the agency will donate “up to $5,000 total” to Girls Write Now, an organization supporting female journalists. Maybe the disasters that will surely unfold around the world in 2017 can somehow be less painful if they’re accurately reported.