A few months ago I became addicted to Instagram, the photo-sharing app on the iPhone and Android operating system. I’ve always loved photography, but I’ve never really excelled at it. I once tried reading the manual for our Canon DSR camera, and my brain started to hurt.
Still, I have beautiful children, and I love capturing their happy little faces. We have tens of thousands of such photos, and some of them are priceless if I do say so myself. So I was thrilled to discover Instagram. With my smartphone I can snap a photo, do a few quick edits, and then post it directly to my Instagram feed, Twitter, and Facebook. It makes sharing photos so much easier, and my family — spread all over the country, and a few overseas — appreciates it immensely, or so their comments at facebook would lead me to believe.
So when it cam time to develop a holiday card for Erwin Penland, the ad agency I work for, the digital team and I discussed the possibility of doing something with Instagram. Ad agencies don’t do traditional holiday cards anymore. That’s boring and expected, and agencies are dead in the water in they simply do the expected. This is a creative business, after all, and agencies wisely take every opportunity to prove their creativity.
But showcasing the agency’s creativity was not our focus this year. After Sandy, we wanted to do something meaningful for people, something that expressed the true spirit of the holidays by helping children in need. But since we would be sending this “card” to our clients and vendor partners, we wanted to involve them in our efforts as well.
The result is Instaclaus, a site that allows you to turn your Instagram photos into Christmas gifts for children in need. Here’s what I wrote at the site to explain how it works.
How it Works
Here in the workshop you’ll find over 100 requests from real children in need, all of whom are from the three cities where Erwin Penland has offices: Greenville, New York and Detroit. You can help “build” each gift by posting a relevant photo to Instagram.
The description above each gift explains the type of photo required. Post your photo with the two requested hashtags, and we’ll add it to the workshop. Once a gift has five photos, we’ll move it to the InstaClaus bag for delivery, with your Instagram handle on the gift tag. A new gift from our queue will move into the workshop, and you can start all over again.
You can only submit one photo per gift, but you can post to as many gifts as you’d like. So the more photos you take, the more we’ll give!
The site has already fulfilled dozens of gifts. Here’s what it looks like when that happens.
There are still gifts to give, so if you’d like to participate, hurry to the site and give it a go. It’s free, fun, and for a good cause.