Mermaid Cheeks? Really?

New Mermaid Cheeks signage on the McKim Building. Yes, you read that right.

Autumn is the season when agencies usually start planning for one of the most significant projects of their year: The Agency Holiday Card. 

A few good reasons as to why – the most obvious being that it’s the single biggest annual opportunity for agencies to showcase aspects of their in-house talent, preferably with enough fun, wit and personality to make someone’s day. In other words, it needs to tick a lot of boxes – but here’s a little secret – the goal is to make it look effortless.  

The real goal of the card, of course, is to express our appreciation for our clients, suppliers and friends throughout the year and pass along our season’s greetings. But at some level, every Holiday Card also serves to seek some form of secondary recognition, great or small. Some Canadian and American marketing publications even do a top agency holiday card picks list to agencies who submit. Yeah, no pressure.   

Sherpa Marketing and McKim Communications Group merged ownership in the spring of 2021 to bring together the expertise of Sherpa’s digital marketing team with McKim’s strategic and creative advertising. For the remainder of the year, while sharing joint services and expertise with clients, Sherpa and McKim continued to operate as distinct companies, each under its own brand.  

Enter the year-end conundrum. 

So, how do two distinct agencies and brands do one Holiday Card and still tick all those boxes? By acknowledging the fact that we still don’t yet have a name and poking a little fun at ourselves.  

In a Wordle obsessed world, we thought, let’s get recipients to do the work – with a word scramble game! “We knew we’d get a version of ‘boaty mcboatface,” said Ron Sawchuk, VP Creative Services.  

Our creative team developed the concept, and our development team in Kitchener created a landing page for an online word game where people could create a new agency name by scrambling the letters in Sherpa, McKim, and our higher ed. division, ED. Marketing Agency. For the actual electronic and printed holiday card sent to recipients, our copywriter wrote a witty, Dr. Suess-style poem that captured our holiday greetings and explained how to play the game. To get everyone’s creative juices flowing, we threw in a few word scramble examples, including Mecka Shrimps and Chimp Makers.  

To encourage entries on social media and generate traffic, we donated $20 to Habitat for Humanity Canada which directly impacts the important work Habitat for Humanity Manitoba does in our community. Each local Habitat is an independent member and manages the homeownership application process, homebuilding operations and local Habitat ReStores.

Nearly 150 entries later, we are pleased to support the charity with the community’s enthusiasm.  

The Holiday Card that keeps on giving. 

But we’re not done yet. Holiday Card aside, our 2022 plan has always been to choose a single name for the merged company.  

“We have always had early 2022 as our timeline for landing on an official single agency name and brand, but to kick things off, who better to buy us more time and give us inspiration than our clients, friends, suppliers and even competitors?” asked Peter George, President and CEO of McKim.   

People were asked to vote online for the top six agency name entries: McSherpa, She Rap & Mc Kim, Draper McKim, Shark Meat, Gimmiks are Taken, and Mermaid Cheeks. The top fake name will be developed into our brand and applied across all social profiles and employee email signatures.  

“I think our creative team was really jonesing for the most-voted name to be either Shark Meat or She Rap & MC Kim because of the fun possibilities developing the brand, but my personal favourite is Mermaid Cheeks,” said Marty Fisher, President of Sherpa Marketing. 

And the winner is….. 

Mermaid Cheeks Logo

Voting ran from January 11 – 16th, 2022 resulting in 178 votes. The race was close, with the runner up being McSherpa. But the name that stole the hearts of our audience was Mermaid Cheeks, which was submitted by David Rucinski. Thank you David!

Of course, this is all good fun. We’re hard at work building our new agency brand and will announce that in due course. In the meantime, the McKim.Sherpa team have had a blast putting together a brand for Mermaid Cheeks. We’re running a month-long campaign using the new fake name of the agency across all our social profiles.   

Make sure to follow us on your favourite social platform to stay in the loop on more announcements from McKim.Sherpa, including news about new client wins and our new agency brand when it’s ready to roll.