• 11.15.16

Jet’s New Holiday Calculator Tells You How Much To Spend On Friends And Family

The shopping site’s “Careculator” analyzes your Facebook interactions to determine the holiday gift value of your relationships.

Jet’s New Holiday Calculator Tells You How Much To Spend On Friends And Family

Look, we all know you love your mom. She’s your mother. She brought you into this world, cared for you, protected you, nurtured you. If you look deep enough into your own eyes, you can actually see her staring back at you. That’s at least worth, what, like $200, right? $300? $120? This is just the kind of emo-math we’re all forced to perform on every major relationship in our life leading up to the holiday season. The entire exhausting process can be more mind-numbing (and expensive) than merry and festive.

advertisement seems to be aware of this effect. This year, the upstart e-commerce site–which was acquired by Walmart in September for roughly $3 billion–teamed up with its ad agency R/GA and Facebook to create a calculator that analyzes the types of social interactions you’ve had with your family and friends, then assigns that relationship a gift value. The Careculator then serves you up gift options within that price range from, you guessed it,

Sumaiya Balbale, VP of Marketing at, says the goal behind the tongue-in-cheek tool was to find a fun and engaging way to break through the tsunami of advertising clutter that floods our lives leading up to the holidays. “As we thought more about it, looking at insights around shopping during the holidays, people are spending so much money buying gifts for friends and family, and it’s this mad rush of trying to figure out what to get people, how much to spend, and how to get the most value so at the end of it all you don’t have a financial hangover,” says Balbale. “Careculator itself is situated within our overall ‘spend less on the people you love’ campaign, so it was critical to give folks a utility to use to figure that out. It was natural for us to try and put a tool like this into the hands of customers so they can see for themselves and be in control of their choices. But it’s also about making something that’s highly shareable and addictive–you want to see how your mom rates, how your sister rates, how your high school friend rates, just to increase the viral nature of it.”

R/GA group executive creative director Eric Jannon says the insight behind the Careculator comes from the observation that the more you love someone, the more you feel like you have to spend on them. “It’s almost a time of year that you have to prove your affection, but we wanted to give people a fun way to put a price on those relationships,” he says.

We all already have our own algorithm for figuring these things out, but R/GA group executive creative director Chris Northam says the goal here was to lighten that load up a bit with some fun. “People are already doing this with their own personal algorithm to work out what friends and family are worth,” says Northam. “So we thought why don’t we try to create a utility to work it out for you, and turning the modern-day social currency of likes, loves, and shares into the currency for Xmas spending, seemed like a perfect way to do it.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.