Tom Kane wrote a really nice sums-it-all-up post on some of the idiotic things firms do when sending out Christmas cards. Like, say, not signing them.
Well, I'm going to go Tom one better. I'm going to institute an award. The WTH Award will go to the law firm which, at holiday time, does something with their Christmas cards that is so incredibly bad, so stupid, that not only doesn't it market the firm, it actually works in the opposite direction. It unmarkets them, if you will.
This award is named in honor of one of my current favorite Youtube characters, Kelly, the blonde adolescent girl created by comedian Liam Kyle Sullivan. (Note: the video is filled with obscenities, and it more than a little adolescent, so rest assured I don't approve of it at all except as a kind of metaphor, which is how I'm using it here, okay?) In one of his first pieces, Kelly, the quintessential suburban mall-rat adolescent girl, is presented by her parents with a large, ugly stuffed dinosaur for her birthday. She unwraps her gift, sees what it is, and turns to the camera and says "What the hell?" Here's the clip -- Kelly's outburst is at exactly 24 seconds into it. Here's a screenshot:
This year, we have a runner-up, and a winner.
The runner-up is an intellectual-property partner at a large, very prominent firm here in Silicon Valley which will remain nameless because, hey, they are lawyers, and I'm not admitted in California and therefore capable of defending myself against a libel suit. However, this gentleman sent me a holiday card which he did not sign. Oh, no. Instead, he had his secretary rubber-stamp his name at the bottom. it wasn't even straight. Nothing conveys sincere wishes for a peaceful, happy holiday season like a Christmas card that looks like an internal California DMV memo.
What the hell?
These awards are based completely on pure merit, and this one is such an obvious winner. This is a holiday card I received from a very large law firm in the Midwest. They didn't sign the card. Okay, fine. That's table stakes, basically. But these guys did something extraordinary on top of it. I did a small consulting project for them, and as I sometimes do, because I like to eat, I sent them a bill. Which they just ... ignored. Yup, they just plain stiffed me. And then they sent me a Christmas card.
Now, rubber-stamping your name at the bottom of a holiday card isn't bad. However, stiffing a consultant, and then, thoughtfully, wishing them happy holidays several months later -- that is good. I mean, that is REALLY good.
What the hell?
Now, today is only the 15th. We have ten more days until Christmas, so readers of this blog are invited to submit their own nominees. However, to be perfectly honest, it's going to be hard to beat our current leaders. Barring a miracle, gentlemen, your prize is in the mail.