Why we created a Christmas Zine

As most agencies start to wind down for Christmas break, two things tend to come up in conversation amongst Account teams and Creative teams:

“What should we send to our clients to show off our creativity?”

“What did we send last year and how much is it going to cost?” is normally what the Finance teams contribute to the conversations.

Whether big, small or medium size, for all agencies, the agency Christmas card is a coveted opportunity to generate some attention within the industry, amongst peers and prospective clients.

The goal is to be remembered and be known for something - for example, having great wit, or insightful creativity, or for side-splitting humour… The list is endless.

Some agencies spend months on it, and rightly so, as it does tend to garner a lot of industry press from the likes of Campaign Live, The Drum, Ad Week, Digi Day,  Ads of the World to name a few.

Most agencies leave it until the last minute and pressurise their creative teams to come up with witty, non-salesy but interesting Christmas card ideas that don’t offend anyone.

For a start up agency like ourselves - we decided to look at this as an opportunity.

When it came to thinking about our Christmas card, our first thought was we need something interesting, something fresh and new.

Standing out from the crowd is always one of our biggest challenge.

We were inspired by the artful Dave Trott’s Push Thinking theory and the story about the Michelin Guide. The Michelin Guide is universally recognised as the most influential indicator of gastronomic ability but it didn’t start out to be a guide to cuisine. It started out as a way of selling tyres. The team who created the guide thought to themselves, instead of running advertising constantly nagging people to use your product, show them something they’d love to do. Something that doesn’t even involve mentioning your product. Something fun. And incidentally, without even mentioning it, you’ve created a need for more sales of your product.

So we have borrowed that exact thinking.

Rather than spending hours thinking of an Christmas card idea solely trying to promote ourselves, let’s just share things that inspire us that could inspire them too.

A collection of curated artefacts and visuals that will excite them for 2019!

This quickly turned the idea of creating a Christmas card into a small Christmas Zine.

In everything we do, we want to create something meaningful and impactful while living out our principles of partnerships.

So for our 2018 edition, we are pleased to announce our partnership with the illustrious NewspaperClub and renowned artist Hormazd Narielwalla to make our very first set of Christmas zines! 

We hope we can grow this tradition over the years as our business grows and have the opportunity to feature more upcoming artists and great thinkers that can fuel and feed our creativity.

The ambition is that one day this Zine will be sought after as it promises a hopeful glance at the future and hopefully positions us as the right partners to create that future with.

Get in touch if you would like a free copy of our 2018 Edition!

frances kehinde
2018 - A year in review
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From my perspective, 2018 has been an interesting year for DUO:

1) We traveled around the UK meeting a lot of new people and brands

2) We moved into a new office/community in London

3) We changed our own financial structure (took me a long time to get to grips with this!)

4) Went into a comms driven workshopping sprint!

5) Did our day job of working with brands in creative media.

6) Ran our very own event! ‘Let’s Talk about Risk’

7) Celebrated the fact that we had reached our 2nd Birthday as a business (we only realised this after the matter of fact)

8) Spoke at an amazing event ‘Good Girls Eat dinner’ - as basically the warm up act for the amazing Helen Pankhurst!

9) Created a TV ad

10) Both turned the BIG 30!

All in all - eventful to say the least. I don’t think anyone could have prepared us for the big bad world of start up. There is nothing glamourous or shiny about this process, it is a lot of grafting, courage and learning by doing. There is no step by step guide to what you should or should not be doing as a digital business - as if that existed non of us would be unique.

But it is in this process of constant learning and evolution that we embrace. It takes me back to how Frances and I first met 7 years ago in the big bad world of agency land, sifting through the nuts and bolts of the industry norms and idiosyncrasies. Because the reality is - everyone is testing and seeing how far they can push the envelope. ‘You don’t know until you try’ is very much a motto that we stand stedfast behind. It has a lot of merit to it.

This year has all been about change. A notion or process that can often seem scary - we have learnt not to waste energy or time on the what ifs and maybes and rather place our focus on how we can harness change to our best advantage.

We have adopted this same approach with the brands we have worked with and who pose those very important questions when we are being briefed. Why should we try this? What is the purpose? How can we measure? Why try X when we can continue doing Y?

All valid and all important - but our answer has been relatively simple and direct.

Change offers opportunity.

“…place our focus on how we can harness change to our best advantage.”

No matter what size, shape or type of business you are - a large corporate brand with hundreds of people, or a sole founder - we both benefit from the prospect of change as we are always striving for better.

It is not without its challenges. We are creatures of habit and asking anyone to make a change of some nature requires consideration, time and a lot of heart. We would not be doing our job if we stood from the side lines dictating what ‘must’ be changed with no sense of sympathy for those on the other side of the table. Nor would we be honest if we didn’t express what could be possible with such a change. So going after opportunities in a digital world require a masterclass in compassion and courage.

In summary - 2018 has been a jam-packed year of self development. Learning to deal with change in its many variants.

“…to make a change of some nature requires consideration, time and a lot of heart.”

We look forward to 2019 - a year that is in many ways going to be a different kind of year. But no matter what happens, it is how we tackle that next step and move ahead with a clear approach that makes all the difference.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas a Happy Chanukah and a wonderfully different New Year!

“So going after opportunities in a digital world require a masterclass in compassion and courage.

frances kehinde