1998—it was a big year for Jon Katinsky. He opened the doors of Hothouse for the first time and never looked back. We hoped to share a picture of that fateful day, but no such records exist. Insta or it didn’t happen, Jon. Duh. Or maybe it’s more like, disposable camera pic or it didn’t happen? Whatev.

Instead, to celebrate of our 19th anniversary, we peered into the depths of that fateful year to see what kind of environment gave birth to such an insightful, strategic, hilarious, loyal bunch.


HampsterDance.com was created. Because the internet.

This catchy GIF-laden site was the result of a competition between Canadian students for who could generate the most traffic. It’s also one of the earliest examples of an Internet meme. Where did this go on timesheets back then, hmm? “Research?”



Superbowl ads cost peanuts.

Okay maybe not exactly, but the average spot came in at $1.3 million compared to today’s $5.02 million. Now that constant excuse of, “It’s too expensive, guys” just doesn’t ring true for the Creative Department anymore, Jon. WE KNOW WHAT COULD’VE BEEN.



Must-See TV ruled the air.

ER, Friends, Fraiser, Veronica’s Closet and Jesse captured viewers’ attention spans, which back then they were watching what, like ONE SCREEN? Amateurs. All 5 shows also aired on NBC, who ultimately became one of Hothouse’s longest running clients.


AOL 4.0 unknowingly contributed to future landfills.

In order to launch the latest version of the online service provider in 1998, AOL used ALL of the world’s CD production capacity for several weeks. Note for Millennial readers: CDs were compact discs that housed data, software and music to name just a few. Now they simply serve as a barometer for how old and/or uncool you are.


Emojis were invented.

OMG, can you even imagine a world where a smiling curly-q of poop wasn’t available as a way to express your displeasure?? Luckily, you have Mr. Shigetaka Kurita of Japan to thank. He wanted a way to bring emotion to a digital message and subsequently changed our lives FOREVER.


AltaVista was the search engine of choice.

Wonder what happened to those guys? Hang on, let’s Google this to find out more…


Phew, 1998 was a busy year, y’all. We’re glad to be in such eclectic company when it comes to celebrating our anniversary. Despite 19 years having passed, one thing has stood the test of time—and that’s the tirelessness of the Hothouse team. Whether you’re the newest member, a seasoned vet or someone who’s been part of our story at some point along the way, we’d like to thank you. We wouldn’t be who we are without your contributions. It’s our people that make the magic and we can’t wait to see what the next 19 years have in store.