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Shutterfly targets diversity in new holiday campaign

Photo personalization leader Shutterfly launched on Monday its first advertising campaign in three years, according to Mediapost.com. The “Anything Flys” campaign emphasizes the importance of connecting with friends and family and encourages users to send cards for any reason, not just for the holidays. The campaign was created by Argonaut, a marketing agency with high-profile consumer goods company clients like Carl’s Jr., Cricket Wireless, Fitbit, NerdWallet, Post Consumer Brands and others. The agency’s tagline is “We Create Brand Comebacks.”

Shutterfly Anything Flys™

“For every ‘I made this thing,’ there’s the ‘we made this thing,'” says the narrator. “And the single parent thing. And the pride parent thing. … Anything you share this holiday season, we can make worth giving.”

According to a feature article at AdAge, Shutterfly is targeting a “more diverse audience thinking about sending holiday cards and gifts.”

The article notes: “Examples depicted in the spot include people for whom their pets are their family, as well as single-parent families, single-sex couple parents, and people who don’t want to say ‘happy holidays’ at all. There’s also the emo teen sending a card of herself and friends in black garb, and the gift that’s more of a memorial.”

Shutterfly CMO Mickey Mericle tells Ad Age: “The campaign is having fun with the societal norms of what it means to send a holiday card or gift. We want to invite everybody into that world and get away from the stereotypical image of this is the type of family that you have to have.”

The company’s objective is to “increase the number of people who have a relationship with us as a brand. Our customers look like America and there are all kinds of family types.”

Ad Age notes Shutterfly’s research indicates, despite the prevalence of social media and digital sharing, the tangible product is gaining in importance.

“We believe in celebrating a relationship with something that people can touch and feel,” says Mericle in in the article. “You’re already seeing this with millennials who are using the post office more and signing up for classes like calligraphy. We have been through a digital revolution, but now people are nostalgic for the tangible and we are penetrating more households than ever.”

Emphasis on cards to avoid a repeat of 2018 results

The emphasis on the greeting cards this holiday season is of prime importance to Shutterfly, which had a big misstep last year as its key Tiny Prints division saw a 17% drop in fourth-quarter sales. Analysts said, at the time, that the weak quarter may have spurred on interest in taking the company private, a process now underway.

“Starting with the Shutterfly consumer segment, net revenues was $528 million or 1% year-over-year increase,” said now departed CEO Christopher North at the time. “Within this segment, Shutterfly brand revenue growth of 3% was offset by a decline of 17% in the Tiny Prints boutique. Our weak overall results in consumer were particularly disappointing given that in so many areas our strategic investments are delivering results, most notably in mobile and in category and range expansion.”

As the Dead Pixels Society reported at the time, Shutterfly management’s failure to properly gauge the popularity of certain categories of greeting cards – particularly the increasing preference of price-conscious consumers for inkjet products vs. traditional photo paper.

“It’s about having the right cards offering, the right design, the right formats,” North said at the time. “And frankly, we did not have the right offering for our more value-oriented consumer. We had in 2018, as we have had in prior years, focused our value offering on photo-paper based cards. And what we saw in 2018 is the battle for the value customer really switched into card-stock based cards.”

According to the Mediapost article, the campaign will run through December 16, on TV, CTV/streaming audio, iHeart Radio, podcasts, social media, and YouTube.

Shutterfly has also been busy posting YouTube videos commemorating the company’s nearly two-decades of photo printing – a lifetime in the digital age – as well as user stories. These are embedded below.

Shutterfly 20th Anniversary

Peyton’s Story

Rachel’s Story

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