Hartwell Studio Works

Sports Branding Blog

Deep thoughts from the studio on all things sports, creative, and some other stuff in-between.

Meet Your North Pole Reindeer


So, how exactly do you follow up your biggest surprise hit of the previous holiday season? I'll be the first one to admit that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Shortstop's viral popularity last year took me and Jay Rogers completely by surprise. It didn't take long, however, for us to put our heads together and plot for 2014.

The solution was simple: if Rudolph was such a big hit, who wouldn't want to see the rest of the team? Cool, right?

Hold on there, cowboy! By far the most ambitious Holiday League promo we've ever done, this year's North Pole Reindeer card set required planning and coordination that went above and beyond the usual promo effort. While Jay and I hatched our plan way back in February of 2014, we knew there was no way the idea would come off without some serious all-star talent on the team. And man, did we get it!


Comet by yours truly.


The new Rudolph, brought to you by Andrew Kolb.


Dasher's just being Dasher, by E.W. Thomason.

Recruiting for the team began over the summer, as Jay and I put together our wish list of illustrators to bring the team to life. We were thrilled that E.W Thomason, Jon Pinto, Von Glitschka, SockMonkee, Andrew Kolb, Lydia Nichols, and John Nelson all agreed to play in our Reindeer games. Sean Forman and Baseball-Reference.com didn't think twice about stepping back up to the plate. Jill Anderson got into the holiday spirit with her deft coding of the team website, and long-time Holiday League fan, supporter, and all-around great guy Steve Leonard supplied the clutch copywriting assist.

The new North Pole Reindeer team website launched on Dec. 8, 2014 and was an immediate hit. We again got love from the New York Daily News, MLB Fan Cave, Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard, SBNation, and the Sporting News. Twitter and social media picked up the team and sent them around the world a couple of times (or more). Man, talk about awesome.

On behalf of the entire North Pole Reindeer team of contributors, thanks so much for your support in 2014. 2015's gonna be great.