Harlequin Holidates

Harlequin Trade Publishing

Harlequin Publishing is so well-established in the romance novel sector that the phrase “a Harlequin romance” is as synonymous with falling in love as Kleenex is with tissue paper. The initial objective was to create three short 3D animations for the client’s holiday marketing promotions. The animations would be used as e-cards as well as social and digital content.


The client wanted a fresh take on the ‘Harlequin hero’ – something that would be interpreted as cute and humorous as opposed to sexy or sensual. The target market was to be aimed at Harlequin’s most common buyers – women 35 years of age and older. Unique character development that involves cute, funny heroes and holiday imagery? It was a Monster Truck Ninja dream come true!

Primary Challenge

Harlequin needed to communicate to existing and future readers that there is more to their brand than the same old beefy hero and swooning heroine story.

We were challenged to create a new fresh approach to the Harlequin hero while adhering to brand guidelines and appealing to their target market.

Creative Process

The direction was intended to be humorous, so we worked with Harlequin to create a concept called “Make a Holidate with Harlequin”. They liked the idea of the toyetic 3D characters that we created for our Batman Dance Party project, so we kept that in mind when drawing initial concepts. 


We narrowed the characters down to three Harlequin archetypes – the Cowboy, the Viking, and the Prince. Each would woo the recipient or viewer with his holiday tree decorating skills and wish them a Holly Jolly Harlequin Hero Christmas. Once the story was nailed down, we moved on to unique character development.


The animations were finalized in time to be used as holiday ecards, and they were shared over social and digital channels as well. Before all was said and done, the animations received almost a million views on Facebook alone!


This is what we call a job well Ninja’d.