The holiday season is one of the most important times of the year for agencies, large and small. Every year it’s an opportunity to launch an agency campaign that flexes a little muscle, tries new things, and maybe even saves a great idea a client never went for as they vie for our collective attention and prove their mettle. Over the past few years, agencies have really pushed the boundaries of how they wish their employees, clients and the public a happy holiday season, to stand out during the year’s busiest sales period.
Gone are the days when a Hallmark card with a couple signatures will do the trick; these agencies really pushed the creative envelope with their holiday campaigns… Here are our 10 favourites from across the years and around the world, join us as we tip our santa hats to them!
Date: Launched in 2014, continuous app updates in 2015
By far, the most heartwarming campaign on this list comes from Spain’s Shackleton. The SantApp, originally launched in time for the 2014 holiday season is a powerful mobile app that uses your smartphone to project lights and sounds to create the illusion that Father Christmas is in your house, delivering your presents. With the SantApp, Shackleton took the game one step further by learning tons of different names, allowing users to personalize the app specifically for their child, either in English or Spanish. The result is a truly unique experience for any child– the bright red bow on top of that perfect Christmas experience. What’s even better is that the app is supported so it’s back in 2015, with a round of updates that’ll make your child’s Christmas experience that much more memorable.
2. Social Media Nativity
Medium: Video & Social
Nowadays, satirical social media mock ups come a dime-a-dozen; from World War II playing out on Facebook to just about anything, you can bet someone has recreated it with mock Facebook accounts or a parody Twitter feed.
What makes Excentric’s ad so fun is that they used this technique back in 2010, and used a whole suite of tools from Gmail, to what now looks like a prehistoric Facebook, Google Maps and even Foursquare to recreate the story of the Nativity. This campaign was charming and funny in 2010, but looking back on how far the web technology we use every day has come in just 5 years, it’s a great blast to the not-so-distant past. The capper? Joseph buying a cow and donkey on Farmville. Priceless.
3. Offline Glove with Anti-Touch Technology
With their patented “100% Anti-Touch” Gloves (known to us laymen as “mittens”) Zarguza, a Slovakian agency, sent their clients the greatest gift of all: the opportunity to disconnect. With these traditional mittens they can’t answer their smartphones or send last minute emails on their tablets as they trudge through a slushy street on the way home. What truly makes this campaign memorable is how well it hits the proverbial holiday nail on the head: on one hand it reminds us we could all use that downtime during December. And on the other, who doesn’t want to rock a snazzy pair of comfy warm mittens come winter? It’s a simple, practical, thoughtful gift with great creative and clever packaging.
4. The Christmas Human
Country: The Netherlands
Every year, in some bizarre Dutch parallel universe: a tragedy that escapes the headlines of major news outlets is the worldwide trafficking of Kristmas Humans, used as props by pine trees to decorate their houses and ring in the holiday season. Luckily the agency Khanna\Reidinga has exposed this great injustice and harrowing practice to the world… From the human lot to a toasty living room, the Kristmas Human is adorned with Christmas ornaments and placed in a corner of the room to contemplate his fate, in this absurdly hilarious holiday switcheroo.
5. 12 Miles of Christmas
Agency: Partners Andrews Aldridge
Foot races are perhaps the most common types of charity events: each year, cities across the globe host marathons to raise large contributions for non-profits. Literally running with this idea, Partners Andrews Aldridge of London designed a 12-mile course through the streets of London to raise awareness and support for St. Mungo’s Broadway, an organization that helps the homeless. While the concept is heartwarming in itself, the campaign really comes together when it scales back to the reveal at the end…
6. Advertising Against Humanity
As a gift to their clients last year, The Juggernaut, a studio out of Toronto, enlisted the help of KBS+P to draft up a very special Cards Against Humanity expansion pack just for marketers. With all the sarcastic zing and poor taste of the original, this expansion of the so-called “Game for Horrible People” takes aim at the tropes, trials and tribulations of the modern marketeer, such as coming up with a new agency motto or “Adapting that piece of shit global campaign”), the triviality of awards, or even how you lost your last gig…
While a good portion of this game isn’t exactly family-friendly, it’s great for parties, especially the type that are attended by a crowd of seasoned agency veterans who aren’t afraid of some lighthearted self-deprecating humour. The cherry on top is that this entire game was crafted specifically as a tongue-in-cheek way for the agency to garner PR and attention via an accompanying hashtag. Unfortunately for us, my suggestion was not included in the game in what I can only assume to be a last minute cut…
7. Christmas Keyboard
Easily the most random idea on the list, FullSix transformed a traditional Spanish holiday feast into a fully playable keyboard. Using Makey Makey, and an iPad keyboard app, FullSix used foods such as fish, crab, a chocolate egg and a glass of wine to perform Jingle Bells. It’s a kooky little video that’s charming and fun, and it offers a new take on Christmas dinner.
8. Christmas Log.
Agency: Cole & Weber
For sheer whimsy and elegant design, Cole & Weber’s Christmas offering easily takes the cake. From a log of fresh pine, the agency carved a wine holder along with a spot for a pack of matches. The pack of matches is to start the fire you’ll build with the log, of course. And the wine? For sipping with loved ones as you forget about office life for a few precious Holiday moments. Beautiful experience all-round, from packaging to usage they clearly thought about how perishables help us craft lasting memories and drove it home.
9. Product Placement Nativity
Neolabels goes full on silly with their 2014 skit, and it’s too good to leave off the list. There’s likely more than one youngster who took it upon themselves to build an action figurine Nativity scene at some point, and most likely, those same kids ended up using that creativity to get a creative gig later on… The contrast between the purity of the nativity concept mixed with recognizable branded products sends a very striking and playful message, especially come Christmas and all its commercial sheen.
10. Family Feud
Agency: Interactive Solutions
When it comes to moxie, there really isn’t any agency that comes close to Interactive Solutions’ 2012 holiday campaign… They created a truly interactive experience by sending “viewing frames” to their family of clients through which they could watch a specific television program at a specific time on a specific date. That program would be a holiday episode of Poland’s highest rated family TV show, the Polish version of Family Feud.
To successfully pull off their campaign, they created a “family” from among their ranks, trained for months, got a spot on the television show, competed and actually won the episode they were featured on. As winners on the show they got to share a message with the audience, so they wished their clients holiday cheer live from the prime time show’s set. How’s that for chutzpah?