When they're not getting drunk on eggnog, agencies are using the holiday season to shamelessly self-promote their digital cred and fun-loving humor. Here's a handful of examples, among which are buzzfeed-style quizzes and telling apps.
Possible: Naughty or Nice Holiday
This year, Santa is looking towards your social media comments to see whether you deserve gifts or coal. Possible has created an "Ask Santa" button for Facebook with an algorithm that analyzes the content of your page to determine whether you've been naughty or nice. This holiday card will also compare you to others to see you how you measure up on the sweet to sour scale.
Mother London: Agency signs Jesus as Client
If Jesus were alive and well, he would be living in Los Angeles, regularly featured on TMZ and have a fan club that includes the likes of Aerosmith's Steve Tyler -- hence 'Street Jesus' -- and Snoop Dog, according to Mother London. The agency issued a press release to "trade press" describing Jesus as such and announcing he has hired Mother London as his new global agency of record.
Says Jesus in the statement, 'It's a leap of faith, but I'm excited about it.'
DigitasLbi: Ugly Sweater Quiz
Digitas wants to know which ugly sweater you are in a Buzzfeed-style quiz. For each user, the shop will make a donation to Goodwill. Ad Age staffers got, Free Dickie and Hammy Pajammy, among others.
Muhtayzik Hoffer: The Oxford
The agency would like to "bestow upon" the world the gift of the Oxford comma. The agency lives and works by a number of rules, among them: "Believe in the clarity provided by the Oxford comma." "There is not a single more important time for Oxford commas than right now, the holiday season," said the agency. "Missing commas in holiday cards, shopping lists, or notes to Santa can ruin Christmas. That's why the agency created a bookmark-let that adds Oxford commas to any webpage, ensuring clarity and holiday cheer."
Over at Plan B, it looks like one of Santa's elves is taking a more traditional route to find out who has been naughty and nice. Santa turns "Elf on the Shelf" corporate to get him out of the typical home setting, sending him to the Chicago-based agency to find out how employees are behaving. While the elf finds some guilty behavior (texting during meetings, an intern looking at a cat meme on Facebook), he's not so innocent himself -- you can see him hitting on workers and drinking vodka out of a coffee cup.
Publicis Worldwide: Elf Interrupted
The elf that Publicis hired to decorate its tree isn't wreaking havoc, but he sure is lazy. So, the agency is asking for adland's help to get him motivated. Visit elfinterrupted.com and choose an ornament to hang on the tree. For each ornament hung, the company will donate $2 to Toys for Tots until they reach their goal of $10,000.
GSD&M: Deck the Walls
With the help of local artist Daniel Johnson, Austin-based GSD&M unveiled a mural located at a drugstore as a gift to the city. The mural features a superhero with the message, "Love is the question; Love is the answer." For every photo taken in front of it during the month of December along with the hashtag #superherokids, GSD&M will make a donation to the non-profit Superhero Kids whose work goes towards fighting childhood cancer.
Coyne PR: Happy $@ing Holidays!
At Coyne, swearing is caring. In a water-jug-turned-swear-jar, employees dump coins every time a ^&$% or $#@! came out of their mouths. As their holiday gift, proceeds went to good use -- all of the coins were poured into a local Salvation Army kettle. Filled to the brim, the jar weighed 163 pounds and contained a total of $1,500.78.
JWT: 12 Holidays
As if there wasn't already enough for us to celebrate in December, JWT is adding a few more holidays to the list. With 12 cards featuring different holidays throughout the month, JWT is making sure there's a holiday for everyone to celebrate this year. Send a "Lost and Found Day" card to your forgetful friend on December 12 or "Bah Humbug Day" cards to the grumps in your life on December 21. If you're feeling more traditional, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa cards are also up for grabs.
Alexander Interactive: E-Commerce
This holiday season, Alexander Interactive is selling employee talent instead of gifts through an e-commerce site. Each employee committed to an "act" to raise money, including "will give away three days off" and "will run the Staten Island half." If all are sold, the firm will match the total purchases (up to $5,000) to raise a total of $10,000 for Bideawee, a pet-welfare organization.
Deep Focus: Deep Snow
Deep Focus created a game in which users steer snow plows through the streets of New York City to rescue Deep Focus employees and toys dropped by Santa from the grasps of a winter snowpocalypse. The shop combined physical and virtual experiences by letting players use their mobile device as a game controller. The data from the phone's gyroscope is used to power the steering wheel for the snowplow as it maneuvers around angry Yettis and actual NYC landmarks on the computer screen. Virtual points earned in the game will be turned into physical toys donated to Toys for Tots.
McKinney: Gingerbread BNB
Don't want to stay with your in-laws this holiday season? For up to $20 per night, McKinney is renting our virtual gingerbread houses. Through Gingerbread BNB, you can go online and book a stay at one of three candy dwellings -- modern home, rustic cabin or cozy camper. One hundred percent of donations go to Robin Hood, New York's largest poverty-fighting organization. The proceeds will help provide New Yorkers with a safe and warm place to stay during the holidays.
Grey London: Beard Baubles
If you want to spruce up your beard for the holidays, look no further: buy some "beard baubles," an invention created by Grey London's creative team as part of the agency's holiday card. You can find the packs of baubles for $11 online. All profits go to beardseason.com, a charity that encourages people to grow beards to raise awareness about Melanoma.
Leo Burnett: Gift of Giving
Leo Burnett Chicago's "Gift of Giving 2014" allows users to donate gifts by snapping a Twitter or Instagram photo of a gift and tagging it with #GiftOfGiving2014. That gift image will appear on digital display gift boxes under an actual Christmas tree at Off The Street Club in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood and virtually at TheGiftOfGiving.co (no 'm'). Once found, users can download a pre-paid postage label to ship that gift directly to Off The Street Club.
McGarrybowen: Hack the Holidays
McGarrybowen is delivering its card via Instagram with a call-to-action to help the agency donate to Doctors Without Borders, up to $10,000
McGarrybowen wanted to help employees survive this busy time of year, so it came up with a 2014 "Hack The Holidays" guide that contains practical tips for navigating tricky situations. The shop presents those situations on Instagram.
Contributing: Alexandra Bruell