Just like many of you, I saw a few electronic holiday cards from businesses this past December. Most are nothing to write home about. It’s pretty easy to pick out the ones that mailed it in—no pun intended.

A lot of times, holiday e-cards feel like they were the last item on the marketing director’s checklist for the year: “#12. Get the electronic holiday card out the door.” And there’s usually an implied second line: “Don’t spend a lot of time or a lot of money.”

I must admit, part of the inspiration for this blog post was a horrible holiday card that I saw from a law firm who should have done so much better. I’m also contrasting that with a holiday card that we just did for a client—also a law firm—which couldn’t be more different.

I don’t need to share the name of the firm that did the lackluster e-card, but this is what it comes down to: If you’re ever doing any marketing where you’re just mailing it in—if you’re putting something out just to get it out, especially if it’s something that’s not essential to your engagement, retention or sales process—you should consider what might happen if you just don’t this year, and you instead spend the time on something else that makes more of an impact.

Let me walk you through an electronic holiday card we just did for a client. We’ll peek under the hood in a bit, but first some background.

In this modern age of technical wizardry and impressive gadgets, you just can’t beat the old-fashioned creativity in going against the grain. Most holiday cards start with some type of animation coupled with digitally-manipulated photos, then sprinkle in a little humor and call it done.

That wasn’t good enough for this project. We were working with Otten Johnson, a real estate focused law firm located in Denver. This year is a big milestone for them: they’re turning 30. In those same 30 years, Denver has seen an urban revitalization as the downtown has been reborn with the construction of new sports venues, office buildings, and the redevelopment of entire areas of Denver adding residential housing and shopping.

We brought all of those elements together in the creation of our new holiday card. We actually built—using dominoes—several key downtown landmarks, including Denver’s tallest building, the Colorado State Capitol, Coors Field, and Union Station (complete with a working train). Then we knocked it down. But the final video was played in reverse, so the dominoes actually came together to build the city in a very unique way.

In total, we used 6,000 dominoes to create the card. We brought in a 16-year-old domino artist, a YouTube phenom whose videos have been watched more than 67 million times. (It took two days to build the cityscape, so yes… we only had one chance to get it right.)

There’s just something completely mesmerizing about the entire experience. The watchers are captivated as they recognize these famous landmarks they know all too well coming together, while at the same time trying to figure out how in the world we made the train go forward if the dominoes are all falling in reverse.

The key impressionable part for the firm is right at the very end when we reveal their name. Up to that point in the video, you have no idea who was behind it, but then a sea of dominoes falls to reveal “Otten Johnson” in a very memorable way.


How does this stack up against what you saw this holiday season? If it’s head and shoulders above your card, give us a call. We can help you out this year.