As a fully digital retail service, Photobox transforms favorite moments into beautiful gifts for family and friends. Described as the expert in personalized gifts, the company offers a wide range of products, including photo books and calendars, canvas prints, wall art, mugs, magnets, puzzles, playing cards, and cases. Encouraging individuals to share, connect, and experiment, creativity is the company’s core value.

With the drinking of eggnog, purchasing of presents, listening to seasonal music, and decorating of the Christmas tree, many consumers embraced the holiday season early this year. Looking for a reason to experience a sense of excitement, as a collective, we’re ready to celebrate the end of 2020. With the tradition of baking, mailing, and gift-swapping just around the corner, Photobox’s “Invites, Not Presents” campaign was created for a Christmas like no other. Considered an “optimistic love letter to moments of togetherness,” this campaign is rooted not only in the need for physical touch and human interaction, but also optimism for the future. In collaboration with The Brooklyn Brothers, a fully integrated earned-first advertising agency, the team combined storytelling with digital, social, and experiential marketing to adapt to evolving consumer behavior. 

“[Invites, Not Presents reacts to our fundamental need for moments of physical togetherness, which have obviously been greatly restricted throughout this year and the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign invites people to use Photobox photo printing gifts as pledges to spend more time together. As a canvas for creativity that says ‘let’s do more of this’ to the recipients of Photobox gifts this Christmas],” says a representative of The Brooklyn Brothers. 

Elaborating on the holiday spirit of this campaign, as opposed to focusing on the nostalgia of former Christmases, the brand aims to spark new stories and moments of togetherness in the near future and inspire its community to face forward to a time when we can return to living our best life. Since holiday advertising can often be excessively sentimental, particularly in this retail category, Photobox avoids what its team calls classic cliché tropes to reflect the current global and social climate.  

A part of Photobox’s overarching theme and tagline, Let’s Go Make Stories, at the center of this campaign’s marketing strategy is a TV placement that describes photographs as invites to more time together and the stories we’ve yet to make. Directed by Saam Farahmand in association with Black Cap Films, and executed by The Brooklyn Brothers, this ad highlights that Christmas is going to look very different this time around. Launched across Europe, the initial public response has been positive, with higher impressions and views than expected and performance metrics on the upside.

“[Working in a COVID-safe environment and with a challenging timeline, Farahmand delivered a strong vision full of energy and scale. The story is a journey through our protagonist’s invitations for the future, the products magically placed in those contexts; it’s a magnificent blend of simple story and technical challenge],” the agency’s representative added.

Targeting a new and younger audience, which traditionally identifies photo printing and gifting as something that members of an older generation does, Photobox tries to capture the relevance of this trend for relationship building and maintaining, especially during this unexpected time. Just one example: Creating a shared recipe book that could be sent to friends, neighbors, and colleagues in a social group to inspire future dinner parties. As demonstrated by Invites, Not Presents, photo books are more than a way to simply capture and re-live memories from previous dinner parties.

Photobox fast-tracked the release of new product innovations such as its photo tiles to place under the tree and respond to the need for more physical reminders of our stories and loved ones around the house. According to The Brooklyn Brothers, by offering consumers digital-first customer service with products of pertinent relevance during a time when people have been unable to purchase in-store, Photobox has helped to support the recovery of the retail industry. In addition to product innovations, this campaign promotes its service innovations, including a recently enhanced digital app and home delivery option. 

After flipping the calendar, the modern digital service brand will continue to provide a canvas for creativity and develop a digital-first 360º marketing plan to improve communication and earn the attention of its audience, striving to continually optimize the customer service experience and innovate the product range to meet the needs of a modern audience.