2010’s best and worst agency holiday cards

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season, when ad agencies either go completely overboard with impressive holiday cards that would make some of their clients jealous, or else they waste their time with tired, predictable, humbuggy offerings. Here, Chapin Clark and Vinny Warren weigh in on some of the best and worst of the year.

Selected by Chapin Clark, managing director at R/GA

1) Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, “Virtual Holiday Dinner

For me, this is how everything should experience family at the holidays—at great remove, on a screen. The idea is simple: You make a reservation, invite your liked ones and share 15 minutes of pseudo-conviviality via video conference. I think Wieden intended this as a way of bringing people closer together, but my first thought was: If only my immediate family had had Skype accounts and networked monitors when I was a child. I’d be a much healthier person.

2) Droga5, “Happy, whatever

See the full image here. Wait, where’s the awful music? Where’s the strained irreverence? Why don’t I have to upload my picture to [insert blatant rip-off of Elf Yourself] myself? I’m a bit lost. Anyway, I like this long-copy piece from Droga5 in Sydney, Australia, because it’s both earnest and full of wit. And because the sentiment it expresses—let’s rediscover the fun in our jobs—is right on.

3) Team One, “The .GIF That Keeps on Giving

This low-fi holiday greeting from Team One harkens back to a simpler time in digital design, before video became widespread, before Flash vs. HTML5, before good taste. These people look like they’re having fun, and they’re not trying too hard. I find the overall effect endearing.

4) Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles and Deeplocal, “Nog Pong

I’ve never understood the concept of losing at beer pong as a form of punishment. You get to play a fun game with friends, and if things don’t go your way, you’re “forced” to drink a large cup of a wonderful beverage. But when you replace beer with eggnog, which goes down like cake batter, the stakes are altogether different. In Nog Pong, Saatchi L.A. updated the classic frat-house pastime with a deft combination of schadenfreude, altruism and robots. (The site was only up for a few days, but it was fun while it lasted.)

5) Saman Rahmanian, Leif Abraham, Christian Behrendt and Andronicus Riyono, “Gift a Follower/Wondertüte

We love the Internet because it’s a grab bag of the enlightening, the entertaining and the bizarre. The minds behind Wondertüte—Google Translate says it’s German for “grab bag,” but who really knows?—have exploited this for a little holiday surprise and delight, social media style. One dollar entitles a Twitter follower or Facebook friend of your choosing to reach into the Wondertüte—no giggling, please—and select a gift. Could be a funny link, could be an iPad. (It’s probably a funny link.) Full disclosure: Christian and Leif are colleagues of mine at R/GA. This is a personal project.

Selected by Vinny Warren, creative director at The Escape Pod

I should point out that I have produced precisely zero agency holiday cards in my career. So, I am arguably unqualified to pass judgment on the well-intentioned labors of others. But since when has lack of actual experience ever stopped someone in advertising from lording it over his or her peers? On with the carnage!

1) Publicis New York, “Cheer Happens Here

The Publicis yuletide offering almost precisely mirrors my perception of the agency’s brand here in the USA: inoffensive, international, benign. The idea here is that you create your own festive greeting and share it via Facebook and/or Twitter. Publicis will donate $1 for every cheer that gets shared. Good for them! But it’s a bit of a sad commentary on this effort that only 877 people (including me) have thus far bothered to do this. Clearly, not even all Publicis employees can be arsed to play along.

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