5 ways agencies made their holiday cards fun

These PR, marketing and advertising agencies broke the mold and created seasonal greetings which were anything but a snooze fest. Comms pros, take note. 


In Lanford Wilson’s play, “Burn This,” a character shares a holiday annoyance to which many PR and marketing pros can relate:

You have no notion of the stupidity involved in designing a holiday card for a national company. Especially if it’s Chrysler. For starters, there are a hundred seventy religions in America, and only one of them believes in Santa Claus.

However, creating festive messages doesn’t have to be stressful, nor do the messages have to be unimaginative. Here are five ways agencies added spice to holiday greetings:

1. Including pop culture references.

Love them or hate them, it seems people can’t get enough of the music of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé or of massive TV hits such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.”

Hollywood Public Relations used “Orange is the New Black” as the theme for its parody card this season:

If you can tie a pop culture reference to your work (such as how to market like a pop star or avoid a crisis a la Olivia Pope), do it. Not only does it entice people to read your message, but a holiday card like this sticks out among all the staid greetings in the style of Currier and Ives.

You can be even more memorable if you personalize the reference, either to your company or the recipient.

2. Using social media.

Sending cards individually enables you to add a personal touch for each recipient. In that vein, why not share it across social media channels to wish your followers happy holidays? That’s what NickersonPR did:

If you’re going to spend the time creating content someone would want in their inbox, use it on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest as well.

Nickerson avoided adding a marketing pitch for additional products or services. Holiday cards are meant to boost your firm’s recognition and create good will, not prompt readers to pull out their wallets.

3. Getting visual.

Though pictures are a popular choice for agency holiday cards, brand managers for The Zimmerman Agency went further and posted this festive video to the company’s Facebook page:

It received more than 12,000 views in less than 24 hours. The firm used the ultimate success equation: Funny video x Taylor Swift song + social media = win.

Don’t have the time or resources to put together a video like this? Use a GIF to get your message across while still appealing to your audience.

Whether you use a photo, video or GIF, remember the importance of storytelling. The best way to be remembered is to tell an engaging tale, and the holiday season has many ripe for the picking.

4. Making things interactive.

Advertising Agency Brokaw created a post-holiday apology maker, which makes quick work of apologizing for various indiscretions:

Creating a note with this template is like playing a guilt-ridden game of Mad Libs. Not only is it a great way to increase engagement, but it’s also a nod to the many apologies we’ve heard this year, from DiGiorno’s plea for forgiveness to Kmart’s mea culpa.

Content such as this is highly shareable. As people put together their own version, it’s second nature for social media denizens to share the results on their feeds and urge others to join in the fun.

5. Team up with a cause.

Hanson Dodge Creative went all out by creating the Global Gift Project, a campaign to help the overburdened Kris Kringle distribute gifts to children worldwide.

The agency offers everyone a chance to join the “Yes, I’m Officially Representing Santa, He’s Real and Gave Me the Power to Give You a Gift” Team (try saying that quickly), otherwise known as Team YIORSHRGMPGYG (not much better).

Visitors answer several questions once on the site, many of which are geared toward reindeer beliefs and practices:

Once that section has been completed, a visitor can print out an “official” member card and donate to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Everyone loves a feel-good tale. Hanson Dodge aims its holiday greeting card efforts toward a benevolent cause, which is endearing and prompts people to share it.

(Image via)

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