London-based creative agency isobel is renowned for its extravagant Christmas cards that bring together the studio together in order to make something special, and its latest effort doesn't disappoint. Inspired by the French aristocracy, the festive greeting is a welcome antidote to the cost of living crisis.
The last few years have been tough, and 2022 is keeping up the pace. News of the cost of living crisis continues to dominate the headlines, and everyone is feeling the pinch. But rather than dwelling on the sorry state of the world, isobel has stayed positive and created an agency Christmas card that purposefully defies how expensive everything has become.
Featuring as many members of the agency who were able to attend – that's 29, including 9-month-old Olive Humphreys – the Christmas card sees the isobel team donning suits, dresses and wigs from one of the most lavish eras in human history: the flamboyant French aristocracy of the 18th Century.
Shot in one take, the card features Emperor Napoleon as the focal point, as well as an array of clothing and props supplied by the wardrobe of the National Theatre. However, this wasn't always the plan. "We were due to feature one more special guest – Arthur the Pug," the studio explains.
"Arthur was going to take pride of place, front and centre. But the venue wouldn't let him in. We could have shot him elsewhere and Photoshopped him in, but we have always shot 100% of our Christmas cards in camera and wanted to stay true to this."
Indeed, previous Christmas cards from isobel have been themed around Swan Lake, Glee, an East End Boozer, a retirement home, a Salvation Army brass band and even an inmate from a State Penitentiary, so it would be a shame to break this impressive streak of work.
Even outside of the Christmas card, 2022 has been a successful and productive year for the agency. isobel's highlights include its debut campaign for furniture company Loaf, which brings an emotion-driven insight to product-focused retail. The year also saw them create their debut campaign for Tilda, which starred real families coming together to enjoy the brand's wide array of dishes. And capping of isobel's 2022 was a brand-focused campaign for the card-selling company Thortful which delivered a significant Valentine's Day boost.
While they've had a good year, though, isobel is keenly aware that people are going through a lot, hence the extra need for their mood-lifting card. But what have they learnt from the last twelve months: "It's a challenging business environment for almost everyone, regardless of which industry you are in," the studio reveals.
"So, when it comes to marketing and advertising, make every opportunity count. Do your absolute best to connect emotionally on a human level. Don't just tell people things; give them a feeling that will stay with them."