‘Tis the Season for Interactive Holiday Cards

It’s that time of year when digital agencies create holiday cards and microsites to show off their design and coding chops while spreading a bit of holiday cheer. This year’s crop of interactive missives took a decidedly silly tack, as dancing elves contended with tattooed Santas and hamster-powered Christmas signs in their bids for the good will of clients past, present and future.

Digital agency R/GA began brainstorming several months ago on its card, when one of its “better Flash tech guys played with mapping something on video.” The result? The agency’s Tattoo Santa site, where visitors can see their customize holiday messages be convincingly “tattooed” on some part of Santa’s anatomy. Words and images can then be sent to friends.

“Generally R/GA cards have been more elegant than humorous, so this was a little bit of a departure,” admitted Nick Law, chief creative officer for R/GA. He noted visitors could elect to brand Santa with a dreidel. “We’re trying to be inclusive.”

Meanwhile AKQA’s offices engaged in a friendly challenge to try and outdo each other in the interactive card department. The San Francisco office’s entry parodied its work on the Halo 3 campaign; the New York office created a Holiday Office Party Hall of Fame site; and the London office’s card requires the help of two hamsters to light up its sign.

“It’s a nod to ourselves as well as our clients and our vendors that we’ve worked with to produce the work that we’ve done collectively together,” Rei Inamoto, global creative director for AKQA, said of the holiday experiences.

Other firms turned to games. Rich media advertising company AdMission is asking visitors to save a snowman from a vicious Scrooge the Rabbit by matching up cards displaying its services, and U.K. agency Thought is inviting people to help Santa decapitate striking elves and save Christmas.

Not everybody takes the e-card route to spread good cheer however. Nobox Marketing Group partnered with Trees for the Future to plant 10,000 new trees on behalf of its clients, while ad agency McKinney had one of its employees, broadcast producer Ben Eckerson, live in a giant inflatable snow globe for a world record breaking 78 hours and 30 minutes. Viewers could track Eckerson’s plasticky imprisonment via live video feed.

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