The Christmas Restraining Order
Issue 62 | March 2022
Colenso BBDO Auckland
Chief Creative Officer Simon Vicars Executive Creative Director Maria Devereux Head of Art Dave Brady Art Director Charlotte Upton Copywriter Callum McDonald
Producer Scott Chapman
Managing Director Angela Watson Chief Strategy Officer Rob Campbell
Every year, advertising agencies give their clients Christmas gifts. But 2021 was not a normal year. The entire industry was hit with the unpredictability of covid, followed by the Great Resignation as thousands of people quit their jobs, then fluctuating consumer confidence and spending. Everyone was in need of a proper break.
In the lead up to Christmas, instead of being given chocolates or a lovely hamper, Colenso clients were issued with a restraining order. The order, which lasted the entirety of the Christmas break, was beautifully designed into the label of a bottle of wine. Each bottle came packaged in a manila box with a message reading, ‘Well, that was a train wreck of a year. But we got through it. Now we need some time apart. See you in 21 days. Don’t even think about calling.’
The clients loved it. The industry loved it.
And other agencies' clients loved it. For 21 days they received 0 new briefs, 0 emails, and 0 phone calls.
In one of my agency lives we had a client who twice took it upon himself to put a brief in the week before Christmas with a review in the gap between the holiday and New Year. The humour of this mailing would have been lost on him.
Whoever wrote the copy for the label had a lot of fun. Penalties for contacting the agency during the break: smaller logos and a 90-second version of any 30-second TV commercial.
There’s a serious point behind the laughs, though. Historically, agencies have not been good at helping their staff maintain a healthy work/life balance. This is a reminder to themselves at Colenso BBDO that they don’t want to revert to the bad old ways once the pandemic is done.