Edmonton ad agency sums up 2020 with 'Xmas Dumpster Fire Channel'
EDMONTON -- A local advertising agency has released its own festive take on the fireplace channel for 2020 with an hour-long video of a dumpster fire.
AM/FM is an Edmonton advertising agency that has worked with a range of local and international clients over the past six years.
According to managing partner Karissa Anderson, the company does something fun and creative for their clients during the holidays every year. This year she approached the creative team and asked for ideas focusing on the positive things that came out of 2020.
"They came back with this dumpster fire idea and it made all of us laugh," she recalled.
"We spent time thinking of all the stuff we wanted to burn, and what would be funny, and it became a great team-building moment as well as something that just put a smile on all of our faces. So we're like, 'Let's just do it.'"
Anderson said there was a lot that went into planning and executing the video, starting with building the dumpster the fire would burn in.
"It was a little bit trickier than it looks. My dad actually welded that dumpster for us. It was a custom-made dumpster, which is hilarious."
The custom dumpster was four feet-by-three feet and had a grate for airflow, and was set up in a secure area with fire supervision before the team started filming.
The hour-long video released last Friday shows a man in a plaid shirt hanging stockings on the dumpster and then throwing a variety of 2020-related items into the fire.
"As a kid you watch the fireplace channel and like, 'Who is that hand?' And we kinda laugh that now it's us," said Anderson.
'That hand' in the video is the agency's creative director Michael Witbeck.
"We filmed it for an hour straight and just threw stuff in and watched it burn," said Anderson. "It was interesting for sure."
Each of the 2020-related items were handpicked by the team and had its own backstory.
"Struggling with puzzles, not wearing ties, the White Claw craze. They were all just little inside things I think that our team shared and went through and it was a good laugh for all of us," said Anderson.
"The sourdough starter was hilarious to me because I couldn't get mine started for the life of me."
The final item thrown into the dumpster, a suitcase, was an item that was surprisingly emotional for everyone on set to watch burn, according to Anderson. She says it reminded the team of cancelled plans, especially plans made to visit family and friends in 2020.
"To not be able to do that this year, we understand it's for the greater [good] of everyone's safety, but it was hard to see that suitcase going up, it really was. And we did not realize it was going to light up like that either, it was a great finale."
Anderson says it was a tough year for AM/FM but they were able to lean on government subsidies when needed.
"It was hard to watch our clients struggle. It was hard to watch our team not be together; we're a very close team."
As a way to give back in 2020, AM/FM decided instead of printing and sending Christmas cards to clients, they would send digital cards and use the money saved to donate to three non-profits charities: YWCA Edmonton, Ronald McDonald House and Compassion House Foundation.
The dumpster fire video is the other way the agency is trying to give back to Edmontonians: Anderson says her team hopes it brings a smile to people's faces.
"I hope that they get the humour out of it and see a little light that this year is finally going to be over soon," said Anderson.
But why does "dumpster fire" sum up 2020 so well?
"It's an expression that everyone said. 'Dumpster fire' and 'pivot' are two words I never want to hear again, and I don't think anyone else wants to hear for a very long time," said Anderson.