Let's Take a Trip to... the Upside Down

Our holiday card has always been a key part of our agency’s marketing. From August on, the last few minutes of our staff meetings revolve around one subject: the theme of the holiday card. If you’ve ever been the lucky recipient of our holiday cards, you know it’s talk of the town. As Jon Chesto wrote in The Boston Globe, “some small firms send out holiday cards featuring tranquil water scenes. The more ambitious ones feature a photo of staff…then there’s Darlene Hollywood.” We’ve sent out some crazy, intricately-designed cards in the past; from Dames of Thrones (can you guess what that’s a play on?) to Hollywood is the New Black, our holiday cards have allowed us to flex our creative muscle and this year was no different.

With TV, movies and streaming services releasing buzzworthy and provocative shows and content to win the viewers war, it’s not easy to come to a collective decision. Employees campaign for their favorites, and from Schitt’s Creek to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the options TRULY are limitless.

The 80s were calling us this year, and as many of the team had recently finished watching the third season of this show (except for me – no spoilers please!), it seemed like we had finally agreed on something. So, let’s take a trip to the upside down as this year’s theme is (drumroll, please), Stranger Things!

Think of our holiday cards like an Instagram post. What you see as a perfectly put together photo with creative copy (we try!), actually takes HOURS of prep and brainstorming. Through industry jargon, card-concept themed puns, references and one-liners, our copy comes to life. This year’s copy was written by Senior Account Executive Kim MacKenzie, who outlined her process.

“First, I think about Hollywood’s intended message and what we want to convey. Once that’s figured out, I try to translate that message into the language of the theme.”

Looking beyond the copy, the preparation for props and costumes becomes a fully blown-out process. From as broad as the shoot location to as detailed as the stamp we design, the prep behind the card is always a collective effort. In purchasing the costumes, we ensure they are on-theme and fit the specific period. For example, making sure we had an 80s-style walkie-talkie to the camping shirt Dustin wears ensured authenticity. The props alone take hours of eBay and Craigslist searching. The bikes the three kids (Will, Dustin and Mike) use are an iconic part of the show; from posters to the key scenes, we needed to be as close to the originals as possible. This year, for the first time, we also incorporated an interactive element to our card giving recipients the opportunity to “crack a code” when scanning a QR code.

The press is no stranger (no pun intended!) to our holiday cards. With coverage in PRDaily, The Boston Globe and many more, our holiday cards not only bring a smile to each receiver but also allow for some great media exposure. To put a bow on all of it, see below for the 2019 holiday card from Hollywood Agency.

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Marketing as a whole is about telling an organization’s story in a manner that is going to resonate with target audiences. Here at Hollywood Agency, our team of journalist-led experts work with organi