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The Christmas Restraining Order

Colenso BBDO

Issue 62 | March 2022

Agency

Colenso BBDO Auckland

Creative Team

Chief Creative Officer Simon Vicars Executive Creative Director Maria Devereux Head of Art Dave Brady Art Director Charlotte Upton Copywriter Callum McDonald

Production Team

Producer Scott Chapman

Other Credits

Managing Director Angela Watson Chief Strategy Officer Rob Campbell

Date

December 2021

Background

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.

Idea

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.’

Results

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.

Our Thoughts

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.

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