‘Tis the season to be jolly and merry and giving, etc., and PR firms are going all out to spread holiday love (read: remind customers and journalists about their organization). So, as the holiday cards and gifts pour in, it’s a good time to step back and reflect on which investments are worth the money and effort this season, and those that just collect dust on recipients’ desks.
Consider this list of commonly sent/received gifts:
Holiday cards: While senders’ hearts are in the right place, the form holiday card doesn’t do much in the way of reinforcing your brand – especially when the message inside just says “Happy Holidays from _____” in bold-faced type. It doesn’t suggest any time or effort, and the stock photos of mistletoe and snowy pastures aren’t really worth saving.
So what’s a good alternative? I recently received a card from the folks at The Neibart Group that displayed a cute comic strip on the front. Titled “Frosty the Spokesman,” it was a playful spin on PR catch phrases (sustainability, white space, etc.) and winter themes. Clearly, the execs at the firm put time and effort into personalizing the message, and it was well received (so much so, in fact, that it inspired the idea for this blog post).
Another way to set your holiday card apart from the pack is to bring your staff into the production. I still remember the card I received from Peppercom last year where the staffs’ faces were superimposed on a fun illustration. That card had an unusually long shelf life on my cubicle wall – it was only recently taken down after a very belated spring-cleaning.
Wreathes/flowers: Sending some sort of vegetation is always a lovely gesture and, at the very least, it represents a bigger financial investment on the part of the sender. The only downside is returning to the office after the holiday break and finding the plant’s wilted remains all over your desk. Apparently poinsettias and wreathes need water, too.
Wine: Good call. Very good call.
Anything edible: Again, you can’t go wrong when you send anything that can be consumed. Cookies, fruit baskets, chocolate—any way you cut it, that gift will be appreciated
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a storied history of going to extreme and creative measures to make a point—that animals are people too … or something like that. PETA members are hardcore about being animal friendly and, whether you lead a veggie lifestyle or not, you have to admit: They can turn one pie in the face into front-page news.
This week, Anna Wintour had cause for celebration: PETA members shifted their attention to two other fur-wearing villains, making Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen their victims du jour. But the weapon of choice doesn’t have a cream filling; this time; PETA turned to Web video to admonish the tiny twins for wearing … well, animals.
Visit PETA’s Web site and you’ll have the chance to “Dress Up the Trollsens.” The freshly dubbed Hairy Kate and Trashley (animal lovers are so creative, aren’t they?) begin the game naked, and players can dress them in bloody animal remnants. As are most PETA strategies, it’s a juvenile ploy at getting ink—but it worked. And, just as it did when Barbie contracted lead poisoning after a nighttime romp with Ken, Web video spread the good word.
As for the Trollsen game, it just goes to show you that there is an audience for everything; it’s just a matter of finding them. And as for me, playing cyber dress-up on PETA’s Web site while eating a roast beef sandwich was delicious.