Today I heard about digital agency Street Attack’s new ‘product’, a revolving retail storefront called 303 Grand in Brooklyn, New York. A while ago, Electric Artists (also a New York-based agency) was behind Meet at the Apartment, a dedicated space in Soho, New York for creative and business executives to ‘re-invent their business’, as they put it. The Brooklyn Brothers created Fat Pig Chocolate last year, an example of creative packaging and brand marketing along the same lines.
I’m beginning to wonder if it is some sort of natural progression for creative agencies to move towards coming up with new products of their own, as opposed to merely coming up with strategies for products belonging to other brands. Personally I like all three cases I just cited, and believe that the energy and passion required to come up with a completely new concept that you will then own and bring to life are core qualities exhibited by entrepreneurs. Much as I like some of Fallon’s or Wieden + Kennedy’s campaign work for Cadbury’s or Nike, I somehow don’t see them taking this sort of less-trodden path.
I traced the age of Street Attack, Electric Artists and the Brooklyn Brothers out of curiosity, to test a thesis that it is the new-age agencies that somehow have a more natural appetite for risk. Street Attack was founded in 2001, Electric Artists in 1997 (thanks Marc) and the Brooklyn Brothers in 2002. Compare this to W+K which is 25 years old.
There must be some good products created by the traditional agencies over the years, but none I can remember offhand (again, pointers welcome). If trends are anything to go by, DDB has created Radar DDB and Ogilvy has carved up Ogilvy Digital Innovation Labs for a reason. I just hope that they are not bound to their mother ships, because otherwise they’re just another department in a huge old engine, and there’s no point in that. I’m sure George Parker will agree 🙂
4 thoughts on “Younger, faster…better”
Terrific post. To clarify, Electric Artists was founded in 1997 here in New York. Best,
Marc – thanks for clarifying. I have a friend who works with you at EA and she says its a great place. Thanks for your kind words about the post. I’m sure I’ll hear more good things about EA in the future – like Tweeting Brands!
Hi Anjali, you could also cite BBH’s ZAG or Anomaly. Both outside the usual agency model, more focused on IP creation than client service in the traditional narrow sense. Ben
Hi Ben – About BBH Zag, you’re right – except that Zag is more focussed purely on product creation and marketing unlike Anomaly, which is more strategy..or at least that’s what I think. I was thinking BBH Labs could actually be included as well.