Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Law Firm Holiday Cards so far - Haynes/Boone, Sterne Kessler, Fenwick, Fish/Richardson, Manatt

Here are my favorite animated holiday card so far.  They combine creativity, beautiful execution, an appropriate tone for the season without being painfully Politically Correct, and make you want to watch them again.  Some connect to the firm's brand, others just to the holiday season, but all show how well these can be  done when a little thought goes into them.

The first entry is from Haynes and Boone, a paper Rolodex file that looks like a Flip Book animation. CMO Blain Banick either sent these out to the entire LMA membership, or it was a crowd favorite (likely the latter) - I had this one forwarded to me by many different marketers. Click here to run the video.

I liked this but wondered whether a 21st-century audience could see a Rolodex as dusty, 19th-century technology.  I asked my 20-year-old son about it, and he called the Rolodex in the video a "prototypical professional icon" not a lack of technology. So I guess you can still use old-school tools, as long as it's done creatively.

The video flips through some firm business cards, then animates a skating couple and a dove. It's beautifully executed.

Another favorite is the Sterne Kessler* animated e-card; I watched it at least four times. Reinforcing the IP firm's practice, a rolling "ball" sets a quirky little over-engineered Rube Goldberg machine into motion, like the game "Mousetrap":

Here are some details: 

BTW, I love the eccentric music, too. Congrats to SKGF's Marketing Director, Tammy Mangan.

Another beautifully executed e-card comes from Silicon Valley-based Fenwick & West.*  
Built around the firm's logo, it animates its way through the Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter/Christmas, and the New Year. They took a big risk in tying the entire holiday message to the firm's logo, executed poorly, it could feel gauche, but they pulled it off beautifully.  

Further, they snuck in a strand of Christmas lights (which most firms avoid in today's PC environment), but I thought it worked well, and helped tie all the colors together. Nice job, CMO James Stapleton.


This year's Fish & Richardson video is another short film that hits just the right festive tone.  Cute but not cutesy, clever but not self indulgent, it connects to the "Fish" theme that reminds you what firm it's from, and says "Happy Holidays" without being annoyingly politically correct about it. My old friend, F&R's National Marketing Executive Kelly Kiernan Largey, always does a great job. I look forward to the Fish cards every year.

We've all seen sad attempts at "a lawyer's approach to the holidays"-themed cards, full of disclaimers and over-the-top legalese.

Manatt's little video in this category, however, is nonetheless quite well done. Thanks to Ernie Svenson for forwarding it to me.

* Disclosure: Fishman Marketing has conducted marketing training and developed marketing campaigns for these asterisked firms in the past, but not on anything related to these cards.

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