Make Some Holiday Flypaper

by Justin Ahrens
Have you ever seen flypaper? It’s yellow, smells funny, and is pretty nasty when there are a ton of flies on it. But it works. It works because it was made to be put in a strategically captivating place and is designed to be sticky and irresistible to its key target, the fresh-for-the-sticking fly.

For whatever reason, as I was thinking about creating promotions, flypaper came to mind. Okay, it’s a gross analogy, but it fits. A well-done promotion is one that has a straightforward purpose, a simple message… and is as “sticky” as possible. Another key element to promotions is to create them in a way that makes them stick out yet not be… well, annoying.
Let’s apply these elements to creating promotions around the holidays. You may already send a Christmas card or end-of-year holiday message—that’s great, but expected. How can you make it unexpected? The good news is that people are expecting holiday greetings and are open to looking at them. The bad news is that they are inundated already with mailings and other paraphernalia at this time of year. The solution? Instead of a fruitcake, create something more like flypaper. Make your message stick. Be memorable. Be different.
How about a Thanksgiving promotion? Or a nonmajor holiday like “Be a Pirate Day,” or some other goofy holiday you concoct? Do something unexpected or off the wall. You are in the creative industry, so try being creative! Think about the way you can set your company apart so it stands out in the midst of all the other white noise during the holidays.
Holidays, whether major or quirky, always seem to be a more acceptable time to receive gifts and have your message read. From a design standpoint, they are also more fun because you have the tradition or concept of the holiday to use as creative fodder. And if you really want to go for it—create your own holiday, and make it your annual company promotion.
Unique Message:
An additional benefit of a holiday promotion is the opportunity to showcase some of your company culture. Culture is king. Whether it’s the holiday you’re celebrating or the message you’re giving, aligning your company with something that is unique, memorable, or telling about who you are and what is important to you is a fantastic way to attract the right “flies” – and, conversely, ward off those clients that just don’t align with the type of relationships you are looking for.
So, what holiday do you want to celebrate?

image of fly-paper

Make your message stick. Be memorable. Be different.

Image courtesy of Rule29

Quick Tip
1. Like all promotions, be clear on your strategy. Let the strategy help decide what type of holiday promotion or promotions will give you the best chance for success.
2. Great print seems to be seen less and less these days. Why not go old school and create an amazing print promotion? This doesn’t have to cost a mint; experiment with paper, print techniques, and possible trades with your local printer.
3. Add your social media and Web presence to the effort as well, and use the metrics to help track success.

Dig Deeper!
1. Need a few chuckles and some different promotional ideas? Explore Someecards.
2. If inspiration is required, add some great books to your collection. Here are two recommendations:
Graphic Workshop: Innovative Promotions That Work
1,000 Greetings: Creative Correspondence Designed for All Occasions

3. For some great promotions and cool things for creative mojo time, explore Felt & Wire.
4. For the basic holiday list, check out Hallmark.