2021 Agency Holiday Cards: Part Five

Season's greetings from Gene, Tux, Dentsu and more round out this final collection of messages from Canada's agencies.

Holiday cards and gifts from Canada’s ad agencies are rolling in. For more merry messaging, check out past editions.

Gene wants marketers to be more mindful

MeditationThe Toronto-based agency that works primarily with health brands has cooked up something special to help restore a little bit of calm amid all of the pandemic chaos.

The agency has launched “Marketer Meditation” in partnership with software engineer Marc Balaban and meditation tool Pixel Thoughts.

It’s a 60-second, browser-based guided meditation experience that encourages marketers to slow down in a world that is always on, supplanting that all-too-common holiday mania with some holiday mindfulness, instead.

“The industry can take a toll on our mental health – especially during this time of year,” said Julia Morra, ECD at Gene. “We wanted to create an experience that invited our peers to unplug, catch their breath and reset the day – even if it’s just for a moment. Hopefully, Marketer Medidation can offer a small reprieve.”

The platform encourages people to write their anxieties down inside a content box, which then fades away as calming music plays. Meanwhile, participants are taken through a meditative process. The experience concludes by directing users toward NABS’s website, either for assistance or to offer the organization support.

Tux offers seven days of meditative content

In lieu of a more traditional holiday card, the Montreal-based creative agency has recorded a short podcast series to help spread some calm at the end of a particularly challenging year.

The podcast episodes range in length from 12 to 14 minutes and cover topics that have been hand-picked by Tux talent, including guided breathing, methods to boost your creativity, and tips for living with anxiety.

The experience is guided by Alice Stip.

Dentsu taps a VP for its punny seasonal greeting

You’ve heard of the First Noël, but have you heard of the First Noel Livestream?FirstNoel

If you’re a client or employee of the Dentsu network of agencies, you probably have. For the uninitiated, however, the concept was simple: install a few cameras in the home of Noel Trinidade, VP Growth Officer at Dentsu, and let the 24-hour footage roll.

Viewers can tune in to watch Trinidade assemble a gingerbread house, lounge by a fire, and wrap presents in festive outfits at a special microsite that will be live until Christmas Day. For each view, Dentsu will make a donation to NABS.

The Humanise Collective is in the giving spirit

HappyHolidays2021_EN-01The eight member agencies of this group – Alice & Smith, Bleublancrouge, Fieldtrip, Glassroom, L’institut Idée, Tulipe, U92 and Youville Haussmann Park – have assembled a gift to benefit both their clients and a charitable cause.

The Collective opens its holiday card with the usual seasonal greetings for clients and collaborators to their business, before serving up a special, holiday-themed playlist. As the music plays, clients can continue to scroll to discover that the agencies have made a donation in their names to NABS – $10 for each client. Following that is a virtual fortune cookie, complete with a prediction for the viewer.

It’s a well-rounded experience, and links to the Spotify playlist and NABS’ donation page allow viewers to continue to enjoy the music well after they’ve finished with the card.

Bond throws it back to a bygone era

Remember when hair metal was a thing? How about neon and spandex? Bond Brand Loyalty remembers – and it has cooked up a holiday reminder in the form of its 2021 video greeting.

With a musical element that decries (or celebrates?) all of the tropes of another year spent in lockdown, the video also serves as a fun trip down nostalgia lane for those who are old enough to remember the ’80s aesthetic. And for those who aren’t, maybe it’s a chance to reflect on some (un)fortunate fashion decisions?

Whatever the case may be, the musical throwback includes karaoke-style captions so you can sing along.

A holiday joke generator

JokePigeon Brands wants to spread more than just hope during the holiday season – they want to remind people that ’tis the season for joy and merriment.

In that spirit, the agency’s Toronto and Montreal offices teamed up to launch an on-demand Joke Generator.

The virtual platform is optimized for mobile devices and borrows the aesthetic of comedy clubs, which is fitting since it’ll serve users up with a heaping helping of one-liners to get your party rolling (on the floor, laughing).

Church & State gives the gift of sketch

As with every holiday season, there are some hot gift concepts out there that most people would love to discover waiting under the tree for them. We’re not sure NFTs are at the top of that list, but they do feature prominently in a comedy sketch from Church & State this year.

Featuring the talents of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (SketchFest), the video is intended to “give our clients and the advertising community a break from the serious with a little bit of silly,” according to Robin Whalen, the agency’s president and CEO. It definitely hits the mark and – equally important – it carries a valuable lesson.

“Brands and agencies all rely on Canada’s creative talent to appear in our commercials and our content,” explains Ron Tite, Church & State founder and CCO. “They deliver comedy for brands, but those talents aren’t developed on our sets. They’re developed at places like SketchFest. We need to help kick-start comedy.”

The video directs viewers toward a portal where they can donate to help the festival recover lost revenue and prepare hybrid shows when it returns in March.

One last deck from Rethink

Rethink3The agency says it has sent 876 decks this year – no small feat – but it decided that one more, with the right theme, would be seasonally appropriate. We’re inclined to agree.

“Holiday Deck-orations” features five unique ornament designs that viewers could use to deck their halls this holiday season – everything from a snowball (composed of a crumpled up roll of paper) to a snowperson (three crumpled up rolls of paper glued together).

If you want to test your creative abilities a little bit more than that, of course, you can give the NFTree – a tree-shaped ornament emblazoned with popular cryptocurrency symbols – a try.

At the end of the tongue-firmly-in-cheek presentation, viewers can follow a link to a Google form that allows them to pick from five charities, including the Canadian Mental Health Association, Humane Canada and Indspire. The selected charity will receive a donation in their name from Rethink.

Naked Creative cooks up a holiday whodunnit

This Toronto agency came up with a fresh new approach to holiday gifting, shunning the typical card in favour of an experience its clients can share.

Naked Creative has given its clients an interactive murder mystery game called “A Round of Shots,” created entirely in-house and set in Toronto’s historic distillery district in 1911. The game can be played either virtually over a conferencing platform such as Zoom, or in person.

As a group of upper-class people gathers for the launch of a new distillery, kingpin Peter Von Shier (who bears a striking resemblance to Naked Creative president Peter Shier) is found murdered. The game then plays out like other popular murder mystery party games, requiring at least seven players and a host. The twist is that only the host knows who the actual killer is.

“It’s been a tough two years for everyone in our business,” said Shier – the real one, not the unfortunate in-game victim. “We hope this lets our clients cut loose and have some fun this holiday – even if it’s at my expense.”

A “bad” photo paired with a few good causes

FUZEXMAS2021Everyone can relate to the concept of the crappy family Christmas card, right?

You finally get the whole gang in one room together for a photo, but it just doesn’t turn out right. Someone’s upset, nobody’s looking in the same direction – it’s the very definition of a holiday buzzkill.

Toronto photo studio Fuze Reps decided to poke fun at the experience with a mock Christmas card of their own – and also made some charitable donations to the JDRF, Stop Community Food Centre and Water First.

We’re sorry the card didn’t turn out, but at least it has a pleasant wish inside?