A New Kind of Business Card

I don’t need to start by explaining what a business card is. The idea is not a new one; in fact, they date back to the 1600s.

“Visiting cards, or visite biletes, were used in Europe when the footmen of the aristocracy or royalty would present the cards to the servants at the home of a host to announce the impending arrival of a distinguished guest.”

These visite biletes have more or less become the standard business card that’s crowding your desk drawer today. Although antiquated (maybe not obsolete, but still old as hell), these 3.5 x 2 inch scraps of paper are still vital to business relations. Any company worth its merit (I cannot believe I just wrote that) has their own unique business card design.

With the launch of Merit, we wanted to rethink how we use business cards and create something in a category of its own. As Sacunas, our business cards were pretty standard (but we did have a bunch of color options). Clients and employees loved the level of customization, and each card stood out. Keeping with the idea of personal and unique cards, we got to work concepting. There were a lot of bad ideas, most of which were my own doing. So we opened up the conversation. To the untrained eye, this would look a lot like my coworkers and I drinking late into the night while trying to talk over each other. After some more terrible ideas, it came to us. More specifically, it came to one of our account directors, Lauren. Trading cards.

The idea was perfect. We kept the standard information on the cards: name, cell phone and email. But we dropped the job titles in favor of more descriptive custom archetypes that better described each person. To fully own the trading card theme, we opted to have the cards printed at standard poker card size instead of the traditional business card size. And, of course, we had to create a game. And what good would a TCG (trading card game) be without some game mechanics?

The rules are fairly simple. Each card has an attribute symbol: Owl, Mouse, or Moon. Owl beats mouse, mouse beats moon (because the moon is made of cheese), and the Moon beats the Owl. Simply throw down a business card at your next meeting and see who comes out the champ.

Like most TCGs, we built in expandability. Our first print run was dubbed series one. Like other card games, (Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Magic the Gathering, etc.), our business cards will have multiple sets. The next set could expand on the game mechanics, or feature high school yearbook photos. The possibilities are limitless (and being kept a secret as of now) and quite collectable. We created a demand for what would usually be stuffed into a “junk drawer.” The idea of our contacts not only keeping our cards but actively trying to collect them is just awesome. And I cannot deny the nerd in me is excited to have his mug printed on a trading card.

About Merit

Merit is the global leader in market invention. More often than not, our work carves out an entirely new market and transforms industry through research and strategy, communications, creative, and technology. For a company to succeed in the new era of marketing, it needs Merit.

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