Agency Holiday Cards 2019, Part 3: A Final Batch of Our Favorite Creative Season’s Greetings

Shops sign off the decade with festive cards, stunts and games

Headshot of Minda Smiley

Adweek’s third and final roundup of 2019 agency holiday cards includes an interactive emoji game, an agency’s take on Stranger Things and a doormat named Marcel.

Here are the links to the rest of our roundups:

Agency Holiday Cards 2019: A Batch of Our Favorite Creative Season’s Greetings So Far

Agency Holiday Cards 2019, Part 2: A Batch of Our Favorite Creative Season’s Greetings

barrettSF — Adweek Holiday Cards

We’ve been told that the creatives at San Francisco-based barrettSF “fought tooth and nail” for the chance to craft the agency’s holiday card this year. It just so happens that the below option won out. We’ll take their word for it.

Bindery — Gift Box

Each year, production studio Bindery puts together a bespoke box of ingredients to make a holiday cocktail (or mocktail). This year’s box contains spiked hot cocoa.

“It’s always an oddly rewarding challenge to figure out how to design, source and produce as many Bindery-branded items as possible; this year’s highlights include Bindery-packaged cocoa, measuring spoons and marshmallows … all the way down to Bindery packing tape,” the studio said.

Doe-Anderson — Puppies vs. Kittens

A little friendly competition is afoot at Doe-Anderson, which is asking friends and clients to pronounce themselves either Team Kittens or Team Puppies. In partnership with Little Orphans Kitten Rescue and Paws With Purpose, both Louisville, Ky.-based animal organizations, the agency will tally the votes during the first week of January 2020 and make a cash donation in the winner’s name. Vote for your favorite here.

GSD&M — Magdalene House ATX

Austin, Texas-based GSD&M recently partnered with Magdalene House ATX, a nonprofit that assists survivors of sex trafficking and addiction with housing and other services, by providing the organization’s communal house with artwork designed by the agency. GSD&M’s 2019 holiday card features the artwork, along with a plantable paper flower filled with seeds.

“Hope, empowerment and growth start at home, and this holiday season, we are helping Magdalene House ATX live these values,” the card reads.

Hollywood Agency — Stranger Things

Boutique PR agency has recreated the hit Netflix series Stranger Things for its 2019 holiday card. Using a hit TV show as the theme of its card has become a tradition for the shop—in past years, employees have dressed up as characters from Game of Thrones, The Bachelor and Mad Men, just to name a few. A QR code on the card leads people to a game that reveals a secret message once they crack a code using clues from the show’s infamous alphabet wall.

MCD Partners — 2019 Holiday Wrap-up

Digital marketing and experience design agency MCD Partners has created an interactive game for the holidays this year. Called the Holiday Wrap-up, the game takes 2019’s biggest headlines, moments and movies and puts them in emoji form, asking players to try and guess what they represent. For instance, one emoji sequence featuring a plate of spaghetti in between two dogs translates to Disney’s live-action Lady and the Tramp remake.

North — Candle

Portland-based agency North has created custom candles for its clients this year. The woodsy-scented candles include a message from the agency and a doodle of a hand holding a branch with a pinecone growing from it.

“The most important part of our job is stoking our clients’ curiosity and desire for new ideas,” the agency said. “This year, we wondered—could a scented candle light that fire? It could, if it was homemade. Or in this case, office-made.”

Pereira O’Dell — Creative Culture

This year, independent agency Pereira O’Dell created Growth, a “sourdough bread yeast with all of the growing power of our creative culture, because it’s made from our culture: the natural yeasts that inhabit our offices.”

Nick Sonderup, executive creative director at Pereira O’Dell in New York, explains the concept behind the carb-inspired gift: “To make yeast, you have to mix flour, water and let it ‘feed’ from the air around it. By making it in our office, we allow the formula to grow from the same air that sparks our ideas. It works like magic, but there is science in there too.”

Rapp — Holiday Card 2019

Rapp took a personalized approach for its holiday card this year, crafting more than 500 videos that call out individual clients by name. In the videos, employees from its five U.S. offices across New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas use recognizable destinations and landmarks—like Times Square and the Hollywood Sign—to spotlight their clients’ names:

Red & Co. — Love Letter

For the holidays this year, Portland-based agency Red & Co. sent out a customized “drunken love letter” to each of its clients. According to the agency, “this industry can be hard on us and our clients, so we thought a funny, cheerful, (pretend) drunken holiday card would make our clients laugh a little and remind them of what we’ve been able to do together!”

SS+K — Toy Timeline

In 1999, SS+K co-founder Rob Shepardson made his first trip to P.S. 188 dressed as Santa Claus to hand out toys to students. Twenty years later, the New York agency still makes an annual visit to the school each year with presents in tow. To commemorate the tradition, SS+K is looking back at the most popular toys from the past two decades on a dedicated website. For a trip down memory lane, check out which toys topped wish lists each year.

ThoughtMatter — ThoughtMat

Design agency ThoughtMatter made what it’s calling a ThoughtMat for the holidays this year. Named Marcel, the doormat was created “for people tired of a world where technology overpowers our lives rather than enhances them.” According to ThoughtMatter, it wanted to make “something decidedly low-tech that reframes the discussion around what it means to welcome someone; especially as the U.S. and others engage in a red-hot immigration debate.”

The doormat was named after Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer of Dada, an art movement that questioned long-held assumptions about what art should be and how it should be made. Much of Duchamp’s artwork involved presenting objects themselves as art.

“Marcel was born when it dawned on us that the simplest, most Dada thing we could do was leave the untouched doormat in all its glory,” ThoughtMatter creative director Ben Greengrass said. “It delivers an ordinary, everyday object that addresses an important issue in a way that’s the epitome of analogue.”

The VIA Agency — Flurry Scurry

For the holidays this year, the VIA Agency has created a “homespun” game called Flurry Scurry. The premise is simple: Try to catch as many snowflakes as possible while avoiding a plummet into the snow. If you’re somehow stuck at the office this week and looking to kill time, look no further.

Where Eagles Dare — The Ultimate Fireplace

Pittsburgh-based agency Where Eagles Dare has created an Ultimate Fireplace VHS tape for friends and clients. According to the agency, the VHS tape holiday cards come complete with five original fireplace films to “warm up the holidays straight from the TV.” Each fire is also followed by a faux informercial, all of which hawk a retro product (one of which is Chia Franks, a nod to the agency’s founder and executive creative director Brian Franks). If you don’t have a VCR, you can watch all the videos here.

“The ’80s and ’90s throwback trend is showing up everywhere, and we always thought the VHS fire tapes were kind of amazing, so we put our own spin on it, making it an elaborate and cozy joke,” Franks said.

Minda Smiley is a staff writer for Adweek covering agencies.