Promo 100 Profile: the michael alan group

By Jun 01, 2010

The Michael Alan Group bills itself as a “non-traditional” marketing and event production company. It tries to do everything with a bit of fun flair.

A great example is the work they’ve done for WE TV. To generate publicity for the show “Bridezillas,” Michael Alan built the world’s tallest wedding cake and placed it in Times Square. Hidden inside the gargantuan pastry were ring boxes holding a variety of prizes, including a grand prize of $50,000. When the bell sounded, dozens of women attacked not only the cake but each other in pursuit of the boxes.

The goal for publicity stunts is always to get as much press as possible, and this event generated more than 200 million media impressions. For national shows, “We find a way to get into the morning shows in that market, or use a cause-related tie-in,” says CEO and founder Jonathan Margolis. “If we get the right TV crew and photography, it makes it all worthwhile,” he adds, noting the Bridezilla brawls made ESPN’s play of the week.

The privately held, nine-year-old agency manages more than 2,000 events like these annually. Clients include Duane Reade Drugstores, People magazine, ION Television Network, and Comedy Central. Eighty percent of the agency’s assignments come from project work, and the agency showed a 21% revenue increase in 2009 from 2008, despite a tough year.

A key ingredient is its ability to maintain a fresh approach is the staff. The company uses people with backgrounds in film, theater, choreography, music and dance. It doesn’t specifically seek out people with these types of backgrounds, but rather, creative types find the agency through word of mouth, something that Margolis feels works to the company’s advantage.

Eighty percent of the staff is part-time or freelance. Having a deep database of experts across a variety of competencies allows the agency to choose the right person for each project and do the majority of work in-house, including set design, costumes, scripts and music composition, which helps keep costs down. During the recession, this ability to be nimble provided a tremendous advantage to clients who were looking to maximize every dollar.

PROMO 100 SPOTLIGHT: Best 2-Year Growth

TOP 10

*Revenue estimated by Promo

Agency ’07-’09 growth 2009 revenue
1. Marketing Werks 222% $30,952,369
2. PGW Experience 212 7,900,000
3. Aspen Marketing Services 159 273,984,000
4. TRIS3CT 140 6,176,969
5. Michael Alan Group, The 77 4,600,000*
6. Collaborative Marketing Grp., Inc. 75% $3,288,382
7. Legacy Marketing Partners 62 16,817,000
8. Circle One 50 11,603,143
9. Strobe Promotions, Inc. 49 1,997,396
10. Fuse 46 4,947,340