Edmonton ad agency sums up 2020 with ‘Xmas Dumpster Fire Channel’

EDMONTON — A local advertising agency has released their 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 been working with a range of local and international clients for the past six years.

Managing Partner Karissa Anderson says every year the company does something fun and creative for their clients during the holidays. 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 and 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 says there was a lot that went into planning and executing the video, starting with the dumpster to build the fire 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,” said Anderson.

The custom dumpster was four feet by three feet and had a grate for airflow, and set up in a secure area with fire supervision before they 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 a watched it burn,” said Anderson. “It was interesting for sure.”

Each of the 2020-related items were handpicked by the team and had their 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 the 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 into the government subsidies when they needed to.

“It was hard to watch our clients struggle, it was hard to watch our team not be together, we’re a very close team, so it was a tough year.”

As a way to give back this year, AM/FM decided instead of printing and sending Christmas cards to clients they sent digital cards, and used 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 they hope 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.

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