The Adland HO HO HO Awards

Christmas is the one time of the year that agencies wholeheartedly give themselves over to flagrant self promotion. The infamous ‘agency card’ is no longer a card per se, but anything whatsoever, as long as it gets a few eyeballs and acts as a vehicle to show off your agency’s creativity. But who’s winning the battle of the cards in 2014? It’s the Adland UK ‘Ho Ho Ho’ Awards.

HO – Mother
Jesus comes to London via this social media campaign - #IFoundJesusInLondon. Mother, clearly picking up on the zeitgeist here; the new Pope is cool, ergo Jesus is a cool guy too. This really took off on Twitter, people loved it, and there was a sense of anticipation wondering where “Jesus” would pop up next.

HO HO – Tokyo London
Another agency picking up on cultural trends is Toyko London, who have made a clever 3D microsite which allows you to customise your own Minecraft-esque character and share with friends. Minecraft, like Jesus, is very in right now. I like the shareability and originality behind this one, and it’s especially great seeing a boutique agency winning at Christmas.

HO HO HO – The Marketing Store
TMS ran a five day murder mystery within their agency called ‘Who Sleighed Santa?’. Not a true piece of publicity in the sense that they only promoted it via Facebook to their whopping 193 followers, I don’t care. Still shows a great sense of fun, creativity and brains. Plus they raised over £500 for The Trussell Trust. A Christmas card should be about treating your staff, not a desperate plea for attention. Three HOs. Deal with it.

HO HO HO HO – Grey London
Like something out of the Twilight Zone, and tongue firmly in cheek, Grey London created Beard Baubles to raise awareness and funds for skin cancer charity Beard Season. Selling these Baubles throughout December, all profits went to charity, and people were so intrigued by this strange novelty that the idea got plenty of press coverage. It even became a huge talking point when a darts player, Callum Storey, wore his baubles to the William Hill World Darts Championship.


HO HO HO HO HO – Karmarama
For their Christmas card – I’m not sure if we can really call these things ‘cards’ anymore – Karmarama partnered with Essex bakery Godfreys to invent a Christmas themed donut!

“It’s the best bits of Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, crafted into a savoury donut.” Karmarama writes, describing the treat.
And what can we expect?

“A light sage infused dough, dusted with turkey salt and a roasted potato crumb finished with cured maple candied bacon and a cranberry drizzle glaze. One bite into this festive feast reveals a seasonal surprise - its thick gravy centre.”

Ummm, okay. Sounds weird. But frankly, I love it and my only regret is that they never sent samples to Adland. A fun and brilliantly creative piece of self-promotion.

Honourable mention: HO FOR TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT - Weiden + Kennedy

An absolutely cracking idea, W+K took last year’s unwanted Christmas trees and recycled them into this year’s Christmas card. This really shows the big thinking W+K is well known for, plus the accompanying video is the perfect length to get the idea across without becoming boring. This very narrowly loses out on the Quintuple Ho, but deserves acknowledgement as a great big idea, well executed. Perhaps a bit expensive: £3 for a tiny A6 card? We’re not all made of trendy Shoreditch money.

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