Christmas Mailer Lets Recipients Earn Wings

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Chocolates, cookies, popcorn, wine bottles, fancy cards: None of these satisfies Spanish agency CP Comunicacion Proximity as eye-catching Christmas gifts for its clients, friends and colleagues.


So, as in previous years, the Madrid shop devised a theme to link the offline and online channels with database and logistics. Its mission is to help its contacts earn their wings to become an angel.


"The concept this Christmas is to put our clients and friends in touch with each other so that they can get to know each other, interact and give each other gifts," said Santiago Gramunt, CEO of CP, a winner of several Echo and Caples awards.


The campaign, which is anonymous, began with a unique mailer: a canary yellow box with a bell that rings when opened. The cover reads, "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." Explained inside is the proposal to become an angel this Christmas and the way of going about it.


Recipients are directed to the specially created site at www.intoparadise.com. As the would-be angels enter the site using a unique code tied to the bell string, the system randomly pairs them up after asking a series of questions to build the person's profile.


The agency's system pairs people on a daily basis, informing them the next day of whom their fellow angel is, their partner's name, where they work and the city and country. They also see a profile of their partner's hobbies and attitude to help them choose a gift.


CP sent 1,200 boxes to its database of contacts from Britain, France, Austria, Germany, the United States, Latin America, Asia and the home market of Spain.


The agency handles the logistics for sending the gifts, giving a pair of wings to everyone who has participated. Those who do not take part still get a gift from CP. But since they have not earned their wings and cannot call themselves angels, they are surprised with a joke.


The creative concept reflects a notion that is not necessarily related to Christmas but to the spirit of the occasion and making someone happy.


CP provides the resources for the recipients, but masks its identity.


"We believe the ultimate goal of a relationship marketing strategy is to achieve the interaction between the different parties without the agency being visible," Gramunt said. "Only at the end, when we send everyone their gift, will CP congratulate the new angels and reveal that we were the ones behind the whole game.


"It requires significant investment, but we believe that, especially at Christmas and due to the fact that we communicate with our clients and friends, we should demonstrate our creative skills and the perfect coordination between the agency, database, online and logistics areas," Gramunt said. "In other words, what we do every day for them."


CP is not the only agency putting creative thought into its Christmas missive. Take Wunderman, New York. The direct shop has sent small, blank canvases to family, friends and contacts for their creative contribution. It accepts doodles, sketches, paintings or expressions.


All Wunderman asks is that recipients sign the artwork created and mail it to the New York office by Jan. 30. In February it will hold an exhibition and auction the canvases to raise funds for End Hunger Network, a charity founded by actor Jeff Bridges to help end childhood hunger.


The most distinctive entries also will win prizes from Wunderman.


Other agencies, like Digitas, send holiday greetings via creative rich-media e-mails. Recipients are asked to click on the Digitas online card to see the charities it is supporting, like CARE and Teach for America. Other shops also send donations in the names of the recipient -- and let them know that.


CP, however, uses the occasion to display its multichannel marketing prowess.


In the past three years, CP's Christmas greeting has linked its targets with similar games. Here, too, they had to participate in order to receive a gift. Previous themes were "Sack to construct your snowman" and "The letter that never arrived ..."


This year's effort undoubtedly is more sophisticated. Another underlying idea by becoming an angel and winning the wings is to do someone a good deed. Partners can communicate with each other, send games, cards or music as well as choose a gift.


"Paradise, where everyone meets up, will take care of everything," Gramunt said.


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