The themes of interactivity and hope for the future shone through this season.
Holiday greetings sent to inboxes and mailboxes this season expressed warm wishes and demonstrated creative thinking. Cards and e-cards ranged from conservative to humorous; routine to festive; featuring both static and truly interactive greetings.
The season brought in too many cards to mention them all, however, the editors at ClickZ detected some themes.
Paper or Electronic?
Cards entered more inboxes than mailboxes this year as the interactive industry leveraged its skills to create some compelling greetings. One notable interactive paper greeting came from Real Networks. It sent out a "Mad Libs"-style pad, which -- in true viral style -- could be filled out and enclosed in personal cards.
Interactive Takes Form
As is customary, agencies took the opportunity to show off their interactive skills by offering interactive greetings.
Tribesoft sent out Frosty Fabricator, a game that let recipients dress a snowman by changing its clothing and accessories.
Drewmedia Studios' game, called "the 'Incident' Before Christmas," lets players assume the perspective of an elf. The elf follows Santa, soused on eggnog, through a maze and picks up gifts dropped along the way.
Avatar company Oddcast had its site host extend personal greetings on behalf of the company, with a talking Holiday Hostcard that called recipients by name and could be customized to delivery any number of messages. The greeting includes a viral element so recipients can then send the e-card along to a friend.
In keeping with these media-fragmented times, the Brooklyn Brothers agency put their creative heads behind a witty e-card that allows recipients to select what channel they prefer to receive greetings on: postal mail; fax; download; email; Webcast or :30 spot.
Cutting out the agency, car sharing service Zipcar challenged its members to submit their own greetings. The winner of the "Design the Holiday Card " was designed by Boston Zipcar member Sarah Luft. The card features the of-the-moment vehicle, the Mini Cooper, amidst generic cars that become buried under snow.
Though it wasn't interactive, ad agency Adams & Knight reminded recipients of the creative possibilities offered by a new year. The e-card showed glowing white computer monitors, blank TV screens, white pages in magazines and unpainted billboards to toast the blank slate the New Year will bring.
Hope for the Future
The industry's trade groups also focused on the future. The Online Publishers Association featured a graphic shaped like a Christmas cracker. When it popped open, the animation, backed by music, wished everybody a "Happy holidays and a joyous new year."
The Interactive Advertising Bureau, for its part, featured a countdown to 2006.
Setting the Mood
Viewpoint's Unicast chose a serious tone for its greeting. An animation of snowflakes falling on two snowmen was backed by a thoughtful piano piece.
Analytics firm Zaaz showed the spirit of the season by purchasing a small herd of llamas through Heifer International in lieu of "the standard holiday gift basket." The announcement came with an appropriate graphic of three llamas dressed as reindeer, complete with Rudolph-red noses.
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