The Long Form Christmas Letter… We’re Bringing It Back

December 25, 2017 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 


The Long Form Christmas Letter… We’re Bringing It Back

Most holiday emails are short, flip and dumb. Do you remember the classic Christmas form letter: photocopied, faded, narcissistic, and sent en-masse? That’s what we’re doing here. So settle in – we’re bringing it back.

Everyone wants to hear about Johnnie, so let’s start with him and his crazy beard net.

It was all it took to send him on a journey of self-discovery. He danced and sang while his nametags blistered, and his polyester uniform coughed caustic black clouds overhead. And we all weathered the phase. Credit due – he hunkered down and he did what he had to. He’s an engineer now, and he’s got the white hardhat and the blueprints in tubes to prove it. Just ask anyone at CCE – the man has made a name for himself. He worked hard and we’re proud of him!

All the kids are doing great.

Years of swimming lessons went nowhere. All it took was a gentle nudge (and a fancy timepiece) and “It’s Too Cold” Michelle transformed before our eyes. Suddenly she was half fish or something. And… our girl is swimming! Who would have thought? Now, without even blinking twice over a single sideways pupil with that creepy extra translucent eyelid, she’ll jump into the icy murk. Totally nonchalant too.

As I watch these guys transform (way too quickly) before my eyes – I can’t believe how fast everyone is growing up.

With time racing by it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. Where am I? What are we doing here? That was a bit of a cold open – but it fits the season, no?

So. For those who might be interested in what we’ve been up to… Here’s a little about business, family, life, all the stuff you’d expect from the…

Immersion Creative Happy Holidays Form Letter















Our friends over at DBM Law in the Tri-Cities keep growing their family as well. Every time I go there: more floor space, new renos, more faces, new files. I’m proud of these guys. They rolled the dice with conceptual over traditional. The croupier froze. We all held our breath. A far-away second-hand tocked. A slow exhale… and the game kept on going as usual. But somehow we were ahead. It worked! No one looks pro and local like these guys do. Maybe you’ve seen them at White Pine beach, the Pitt Meadows Pier, and Buntzen Lake? Maybe on your street? They live there. They are a part of your community. I love these shoots. I could spend all day with lawyers on beaches… but why stop there?

We had a mission at sea with our other lawyer clients David and Ty. Not to be outdone by lawyers on horses, or lawyers on beaches, or lawyers near geese, and on mountains with fleeces, we set sail on a still September night with a prestigious fashion photographer and carefully-picked crew in tow. They navigated our boat. They navigated within the sun and stars to get the perfect shot. Cognizant of light, time, morale and fuel, they navigated the parameters to make it work. When Harbour Traffic questioned our position. They navigated the conversation. Out on that boat, we didn’t see lawyers in an office. We saw masters in their element with decades of knowledge on their minds. Those are the shots we got.

Our North Island family has now grown to Strategic, 43K, Strategic Wildfire, BC Parks, Escott Sportfishing, and Raven IT. It’s been great working with these guys. I find it amazing we click so well with so many folks from that part of the world. The interior too. I’m from a small town myself. So maybe it’s a 250 thing?

Speaking of which, Shaun and Ben and the gang over at 43K have been super busy. I haven’t had a chance yet to do the knuckle rub on the shirt-front about the branding we did for them. It looks good, huh? Modern and professional and, dare I say… hip? They’ve been doing some great work. Did you know that we named them 43K because their first project together was building the North Coast Trail and the trail is exactly 26.72 miles! Pretty catchy, huh?

It hasn’t been all rainbows and lollipops though…

Unfortunately 2017 wasn’t without some tragic news as well. Our little Jasmine was in a car accident!! Don’t worry, she’s okay now, but she was bruised up pretty badly. She flipped my car and everything! I am happy to say that thanks to the amazing Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia they were able to get her to the hospital in under nine minutes and she’s just fine now. No more texting and driving for you, young lady.

I have to say, I’m stoked about the campaign we made for the paramedics this year. It was a wild media buy – a horror intro, followed by ads for trucks and Grape Nuts, and a spectacular rescue 60 seconds later. Heart-stopping stuff. Check them out.

It’s been such a busy year, I can’t complain about anything on the business-front. We’re always growing. I won’t bore you with the details, but some of the new clients are always fun.

I have to hand it to realtor Edward Zhang. He’s a sharp-minded agent who is a master of the deal and has a next-level understanding of modern business. I can say this, because, in my 14 years in advertising, I have never met someone who gets the best value from the way I roll quite like Edward does. He likes me on retainer and he makes the most of it: A creative force available by text or call or meeting – whenever insight strikes. Imagine if your lawyer was like that, or your doctor, or your tailor? Answers a text away. Immediate ideas on call. Edward has it figured out. He has a Merlin in his Court, or perhaps a mad scientist. Either way. Don’t ask me if this works. Ask Edward.

Patrick spent the summer carving sculptures in Van Dusen Gardens. His exhibition this year was excellent (as always). We went down and wandered the gardens (and got lost in that maze) and saw dozens of his pieces all throughout. He has a real talent. He had other carvers from Zimbabwe exhibit their work and people would stop to watch them carve in the shade. Nice work, Patrick. I look forward to seeing more of your art on display next year.

Russ is doing so well. He was already a household name, and one of the most recognizable voices in radio here in Vancouver, but now he’s also helping out the good folks at Dr. Bernstein. If you look at most celebrities, endorsements are the way to go. Just look at Tiger Woods! Gillette, Nike, Tiger Balm (Tiger Balm? Probably.) Hopefully our man can keep those home-wrecking vixens at bay to keep his endorsement family friendly! (I’m talking to you, Russ.)

If you think Sally’s looking slimmer, you’re not mistaken. Who knew she had that in her! Unbeknownst to us, she’s been doing the Dr. Bernstein Diet on the sly! I could barely recognize her. She lost 20 lb a month, for a month or two, and what a difference! Either way, we had a chance to shoot where the magic happens in our very own version of Dr. Bernstein Cribs – POW!

I normally hate it when people brag about how great their neighbours are, and how wonderful their neighbourhood is. But this is a Christmas letter after all, and looking out at all the beautiful lights lining my street, I can’t help but say how happy I am that everyone in our family is doing so well.

Enough business! Onto the crew…

Seann is doing well. We’ve been making ads together for almost a decade. He welcomed in a new baby boy this year. He likes to surf a lot. He’s in arctic waters off Tofino. He has another toddler daughter. Remember those busy times? Put it all together. Kids, cold, reflection, experience, no-nonsense – that’s all fortitude, focus and brass tacks stuff. His art direction is getting better each year – and I think that’s why. He turned a course catalogue into a magazine, that was cool.
Jaclyn has it in her to write the next Kahuna Burger interrogation scene. Lucky for us she’s not famous yet (that does sound kind of horrible to say). BUT! What’s better than catching a rising star at just the right time? Did you know Salvador Dali designed the Chupa Chups lollipops logo? The genius was in the placement btw – on the top. Do you think they’ll ever change that? No way! Jaclyn is our very own Chupa Chup, sweet and poised, no wait, she’s our Dali, sans moustache and ocelot (to my knowledge).
Dennis is a rare animal known as ‘the programmer who doesn’t hide.’ He is incapable of camouflage. He is incapable of not following up, and following through. He shouldn’t be a developer. He isn’t condescending, rude, or unreachable. As talented as he is, Dennis may be in the wrong position – he’s simply too approachable to be around computers. The secret to finding a prodigious programmer isn’t in knowing a language – it’s in knowing their language – and if you don’t speak CS, and it’s not in your car, and you don’t live on CS, and it’s not in your veins, you are not getting the most of your developer, and Dennis is a star.
Katie has been mastering the art of illustration and design in the Taoist tradition. Actually she’s mastering Taoism – without her knowledge – which is how, I think, Taoism works. Truth be told, I know nothing about Taoism. But I suspect it’s super competitive. But back to Katie – unassuming spiritual advantage and all, Katie is a person that you feel lucky to work with. Conscientious. Talented. Viciously, brutally, savagely Taoist: Katie is a superstar, whether she is designing, consulting, or walking away from explosions in slow motion and throwing her Taoist trophy in the garbage and calling it meaningless, she’s a great person to work with. (I think throwing your Taoist trophy in the garbage might be bad luck, Katie, so I don’t recommend it, but what do I know? What do I know?)
Peter continues to dazzle and amaze. Just look at this portfolio of work. We won gold for our Lawyers on Horses  shot last year when Miller-Titerle was recognized as one of the Top 10 Corporate-Commercial Law Firms In Canada.  An amazing shoot. Those were actual lawyers, on horses – and insurance was a nightmare.
Jeremy is our super-seasoned blogger. He’s probably written a thousand blogs on mattresses over the years (no joke). And he’s still restless but a blogging star.

Oran is our art director on call (see the Edward Zhang note above). The modern world is ready for artists like Oran.

Matthew is a true pro. The full package: talent, savvy and social skills. He’s going to go far. Don’t forget us.

Hope is running an ad agency. What a star! She’s the real mastermind behind all of this. That said, she did approve this sprawling, rambling rant of a Christmas form letter – so she’s still learning…
Me? I’m just happy to be working with such a great crew. I’m nine years in with Immersionnow. Fourteen in the ad game. The best part is complimentary clients. Working with people who get me, and my style, is awesome. It’s a dream for any creative person actually. So that’s pretty cool.

Enough crew! Back to the little people front…

In other news, my twins are in Grade Three. They are doing great! We practice our math every morning. Ask them what Pi is to five digits. How to find the surface area of a sphere. Space/time relativism. You can even ask them to multiply single digit numbers when you’re in the mood for a correct answer that makes sense.

Hold is selling subscriptions to his Diaper Dog comics and Olive got an electric typewriter for her birthday that she’s using to write stories about cats.

Click here or here to subscribe. All proceeds go to inner-city kids. My inner-city kids (Holden and Olive).

In Other, Other News

Maria and I did an adventure this summer where we visited various ghost towns in BC. Some had gift shops, some were gone without a trace, so it wasn’t really the tin type theme we were looking for, but we still had fun doing it.

More Work Stuff!

Seann’s been crushing it on the logo front. I love what he did for Raven and Refined.

Speaking of Raven, check out these cool business cards we made. Did you know that your camera in your phone and on your computer can be used to spy on you? Pretty creepy, huh? Even Mark Zuckerberg covers the camera on his computer. And that should tell you something! Worst. Sextape. Ever. Either way, we made cards with little raven stickers that you can use to keep your life private from voyeurs and freaks.

The Refined logo and name. I love it. It was great working with Marc and Rob on this. The whole process was so… granular… meticulous… polishing… ah, I can’t think of how to describe it, but we worked like a giant machine of a team on this guy, and I think it turned out awesome.

I did a few radio scripts for Alpine Credits for nostalgia’s sake, but they never saw the crackle of air, I was pushing real hard to bring back that old jingle. Kurt was like, no way, it didn’t work for him. So be it.

Don’t throw your trash in my backyard, my backyard’s full. I’ve always wanted to do a radio campaign about campfire songs. They’re super catchy, everyone knows them, and they bring back a certain nostalgia of crackling flames, marshmallows, hot chocolate and recycling bottles – in your own damn yard. TOMRA ran with this idea, and we had a fun launch of their new bottle recycling machine down in Burnaby. We had the incomparable Casey Jo Loos on site for the Peak 102.7 FM and we had a barbeque and made an event out of the launch. It was great.

We were all over the Tri-Cities this year. Between DBM and CCE – wherever you went around Coquitlam you’d see one of our ads. My favourites were our lenticular posters in the Skytrain Stations in Coquitlam. Visuals that move as you move by them. I used to get rings like this at the dentist when I was a kid.

I’ve been helping out Hewlett Packard and Iron Mountain with some copyediting too, so happy holidays to you too!

Industry and environment are not usually the first two words that come to mind when you think of BCEIA (my go-tos would be “acronym” and “mouthful” – but to each their own) – but that is exactly what the British Columbia Environmental Industry Association is hoping to combine. A sustainable approach to business in BC. I’ve been working with these guys for years, and recently we made a new logo for BEST – shna! Check it out, it’s pretty great.

A Little About My Cat

Gato is doing well. She does this thing where she takes the cat toy that we have hanging by a suction cup on the downstairs door and she brings it up and leaves it in my bedroom. I don’t know if it’s a sacrifice or a sign that she wants better food or toys. Who knows!? But I find it pretty adorable. She hates it when I work out. Whenever I do P90x, she loves to bite my legs. What’s the deal with that, Gato? She has an intuitive sixth sense as to where the next place of attention will be. If you are planning to wrap a present, she’ll be sitting on the paper, if you feel like sitting down, she’ll be in the chair you want. If you are going to bake a ziti, there she is, in the oven! Kidding. But she does have an incredible ability to always make herself the centre of attention (you should see her Instagram account – insufferable!)

OMG! Are we really talking about my cat now? This truly is a rambling Christmas form letter. Did you know there is a parallel universe where cats just watch videos of us?

The Box of Fun

Your twenties is experience, your thirties is expertise, you forties is money. That was my plan anyway. When I meet someone who’s young I want to say drop it all and forget your debt and get on a plane and roll and ride and run as far as you can because you’ll only be in your twenties once and you’ll heal so much faster and you’ll look so much better and you’ll land on your feet in a way that you never will again. So you have to tumble with it and ride and see where it takes you… that’s what your twenties is.

We have a Box of Fun at home. We made it because the kids got bored. We had one when we were teenagers in a small town with nothing to do. So you need to draw a suggestion for fun out of the box of fun – and everyone needs to chant ‘box, box, box!” and then you draw the paper and you have to do whatever it says. Well say you don’t want to play road hockey in the middle of the night, or drive to Grand Forks, then you had to pick up the phone, open the Yellow Pages, and call someone, anyone, and ask them for permission not to do whatever it was you drew from the Box of Fun.

What Is The Point?

The whole point of this ranting, rambling, rave was for you to get a better idea of how we roll and who we are – who are these people? Who’s this guy? I’m a thoughtful person. I’m a bit off kilter. But I am whimsical, and intuitive and even kind, and also vengeful and old-fashioned and I have my flaws. No one is perfect, that’s for sure. I can be the Arch-Angel. A shift-shaping trickster. Or  somewhere in-between. Like a sardine. A singular, solitary, sardine. Given the option, I’d rather be melted down into a button.

This is just a long wrecking crew rant from a band of pirates. We’ve been in this game a long time, but we’ve always been outsiders. We don’t have the prestige of peer-reviewed rewards and awards because our peers don’t know what to make of us. People buy our style. They like what we do. They know what we do makes money for them.

That’s an important difference – we don’t do what we do to make money. We do what we do – and we make money.

In the wake of all these boring and pointless Happy Holidays blips on your screen, here’s a long, meandering update with what I hope’s a little flair. If you’ve got this far, we might just have something in common. Let’s make something!

I hope you enjoyed our lengthy and rambling Pre-Facebook, family Christmas form letter.

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. And all that to all of you.  Enjoy!

– Mike and the Immersion Crew.