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Product personalization website Shutterfly wants to help people immortalize awkward moments, inside jokes and life's everyday experiences as tangible keepsakes.
Running up to the holiday gift-giving season, Shutterfly's latest series of TV ads shows how its mementos can help people do just that — seen through a custom mug gifted to a colleague who thought Alaska was an island, a blanket commemorating the day a couple first shared a toothbrush and a photo collage capturing the tumult surrounding a broken arm.
Life's moments like these fueled inspiration for the multimillion-dollar "Make it a Thing" campaign, which debuted on Oct. 1. Ahead of a bigger holiday push later this fall, the effort aims to amplify Shutterfly's shifting focus from what people make on the platform to why, according to CMO Craig Rowley.
"It's not just about the things you make, it's the meaning that is captured as you make them," he said. "If you think about the role of Shutterfly in the minds of consumers, it's really that we allow you to make objects of true kinship. The thrill of 'making things with meaning' is matched only by the joy of a deepened connection."
Teeing up the creator community
Focusing on life's less than picture-perfect moments, this effort is Shutterfly's largest brand campaign to date in terms of both spending and its bevy of creative assets, per details the company shared. The media mix for "Make it a Thing" includes linear and streaming TV, digital partnerships, audio and social, with a strong presence on Snapchat and TikTok to reach younger consumers and creators.
"What is also exciting is that this new brand platform is a vehicle to serve up an endless number of occasions for which the creator community can make their own thing from our vast collection of customizable products," Rowley said.
"We know that the majority of customers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences, and this is even more true with younger audiences," Rowley said. "We also did extensive customer research, and it signaled a rich territory for us in the space of being a creator."
The campaign — with plans to ramp up closer to the holidays and extend into 2022 — is the first work from Shutterfly's partnership with Mischief, which won agency-of-record duties in May. "Make it a Thing" arrives amid a broader brand evolution that debuted last month and includes a new look and feel through a modern color palette and illustrations.
"It's a fresh look and tone building upon the strong brand equity in our signature orange, with the layer of a purposeful personality embodying creativity and 'maker-y-ness.' We want our tone to be playful, approachable, creative and full of joy and inspiration," Rowley said.
Shutterfly and Mischief intentionally launched the effort in early fall to build awareness and solidify the new brand direction before "the holiday clutter," per Rowley.
On top of succeeding Shutterfly's new visual identity, "Make it a Thing" arrives ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season and signals a bigger emphasis on personalized merchandise following Shutterfly's August acquisition of Spoonflower, a digital marketplace that prints custom fabric, wallpaper and home decor. Shutterfly this week announced a partnership with Marie Kondo to help consumers transform moments into cherished keepsakes that "spark joy," referencing the designer's mantra that's been popularized online.
"The thrill of 'making things with meaning' is matched only by the joy of a deepened connection."
Chief marketing officer, Shutterfly
Coupled with Shutterfly's recent acquisition and celebrity brand partnership, "Make it a Thing" emphasizes the value of personalization, pushing shoppers to lean into their inside jokes and spontaneous occasions.
The message behind the campaign dovetails with a recent study the brand conducted with Ipsos, finding that one-third of Americans plan to buy a customized gift this holiday season. Among those who bought personalized presents, the most popular reason is to show family or friends they care (52%) or because they think a personalized gift holds more meaning (44%). At the same time, the study found that 58% of respondents are more likely to shop online rather than in person this holiday season.
"Every item made with Shutterfly has a backstory. That's what makes it truly valuable," Mischief Chief Creative Officer Greg Hahn said via email. "We wanted to bring that idea to life with a platform that could stretch across all types of media."