Insight Creative 56 A Miserable Gift. Ka Mua, Ka Muri

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Brian Slade
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Christopher Gough Palmer
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Brian Slade, Christopher Gough Palmer, Mason Smith, Kirsty Drummond, Rainer Leisky, Steven Giannoulis, Paul Saris, Jo Otto
  • Client
    Steven Giannoulis

Every year we aim to give our clients a memorable and clever end-of-year gift, that makes them feel valued, showcases our creativity and expresses who we are and what we stand for. Creating something that achieves all these goals, and still has cut-through in a frantic time of year, is a big ask.

This year we had the added complexity of Covid. We want something that clearly acknowledged the extraordinary year 2020 had been. After exploring a number of options, we selected the ultimate in crappy gifts, socks – the lead partner in the dreaded socks and undies combo - to epitomised the crappy year it was.

The personalised box exteriors says it all “A miserable year deserves a miserable gift. Here’s a pair of socks.”

The gift is more than just a pair of custom-designed, limited-edition socks but a ‘smile in the mind’ experience that gives the middle finger to the year that was.

As you open the deliberately bare gift box you are greeted by a pair of big bold eyes steering out at you. The sock design was inspired by the Māori whakataukī “Ka Mua, Ka Muri” meaning “walking backwards into the future” – a te ao concept that we should look to our past to inform our future.

The multitude of seemingly random coloured shapes, representing the chaotic year that was, are divided by two eyes: one looking back while the other looks forward. The first acknowledges the year that was, and the lessons we learn from it, while the other looks forward to a better year ahead for us and the person receiving the gift.

The typography is purposefully retro and elementary, reinforcing the looking back message and allowing the socks to take centre stage. The complementary colours were specifically chosen to be bright and engaging in order to convey a brighter future.

The experience continues behind the socks with an engaging user manual. The inspiration is the high-end user booklet you might get with a luxury device or watch. This is offset by a more light-hearted approach to copy and the internal design. The colour blocks from the socks are combined in different ways to create graphic illustrations that have a playful simplicity, taking banal garment care instruction to a new level.

The overall experience is well-considered, personalised, engaging and highly-crafted. It is delivered with a high level of humour that left our clients with a big smile on their face. We’ve given more valuable gifts in the past but we’ve never had the level of response we got this year. Most commented on the clever design and copy and how it really made them laugh. Better still, many shared photos of themselves wearing the socks, making this a gift that gave something special back to us.