The Idiocy Of Ad Agency Christmas Giving

Yes, Ad Agency Christmas Giving Is Stupid

It is that time of year again. The time that many an ad agency decides that it is a great time of year to add to the ad agency Christmas giving clutter. Am I being Grinch-like? You bet.

Does your ad agency send out Christmas cards or gifts to clients — even prospects? I call this practice stupid. Strong words? Sure.

Look, I have nothing against season’s greetings. But, after working at a couple of agencies (including my own) and watching dozens/hundreds more send out very “creative” Christmas (Chanukah, Kwanza, etc.) cards and gifts during the late-December season, I have to say this is very ill-timed even highly-inefficient outreach. It is wasteful in three critical ways:

  1. Bad timing. From a marketing point of view, you are sending out stuff into a high-density environment. You are gifting what you might think is special just when everyone else is… from other agencies to families to friends. Crazy. A savvy client might even question your giving, er agency marketing.
  2. Most clients don’t care. They are not looking for your card or gift. I know this. Even after my agency got smart and switched to a, LOL, Chinese New Year gift, I got limited thank yous from clients even long-term clients. We sent out art directed + artfully etched fine-wine bottles that celebrated each year’s animal. I still think it was a cool gift. Even avoiding the Christmas season, we still got very limited thankyous. One year, I was so pissed off at being impolitely ignored, I asked silent clients why they (serious clients like AOR Nike) did not thank us. Their tail between the legs response was unfulfilling.
  3. Back to inefficient. Finally, how much time do you think the average agency spends on thinking about, planning, art directing and producing cards and gifts? Too much! I think that this stuff has become an agency joke. At best, it yields some agencies a bit of press. See what I mean: An example from The 2016 Drum: Agency Christmas round-up: Cards, charity initiatives, chatbots and creative hangover cures

By the way, the Christmas image at left is from the agency KBS. Marketing Lunacy Resolved

If you want to look creative via gift-giving – and say thanks… I suggest being a bit more strategic.

Why not celebrate a different holiday every year to look different without the major effort that stresses out your creative department. Unless, of course, it is the only time they can kick some creative butt.

By the way, Happy Holidays.


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